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Salford mental health charity START fights back against suicide

Salford mental health charity START will be touring building sites in Salford offering free ‘builder’s lunches’ in a bid to get construction workers talking about mental health and suicide.

Men in the construction industry face the highest risk of suicide. According to national statistics they are three times more likely to take their own lives than the national average.

The free lunches and chats are part of START’s Reach Out; Start to End Suicide campaign which seeks to raise awareness of the issue and the support available. Across Greater Manchester over 200 people a year take their lives, three quarters of them men. Salford and Bolton have the highest rates of suicide in Greater Manchester with 31 lives being lost in each locality in 2017 according the Office of National Statistics.

Dennis Baldwin from START said: “The pizza and free lunches are great ways to break the ice and get men talking about mental health. We need to break down the stigma that stops construction workers reaching out for help for themselves and for others.”

City Mayor Paul Dennett, who is backing the campaign, said: “Even one life lost to suicide is one too many. Salford is experiencing incredible levels of construction right now so I’m very pleased START are reaching out to building site workers in this way to show them support is there and they are being strong if they reach out for it.

“People’s minds and bodies are linked and we need to be as comfortable talking about mental health as we are physical health. This is a great step in that direction.”

Dr Tom Tasker, Chair of Salford CCG which funded the project, said: “Starting conversations with construction workers about mental health and suicide is so important. I’m pleased that the CCG is giving money to START through the innovation fund to run this great project and hopefully this will make an important contribution towards our ongoing work around suicide prevention.”

Bernadette Conlon, Chief Executive and founder of START, said: “Suicide affects so many people, especially within the construction industry and the real tragedy is that most of these deaths were preventable. This is why START is taking the builders’ lunch directly to this most at risk group of people and starting conversations to let them know that support is available to them and that they are not alone.”

Lee McCarren, DOMIS Managing Director said “We are very proud that START reached out to launch the ‘Builders Lunch’ initiative on our Local Crescent project. The majority of our workforce- both direct and subcontractor are included in the highest risk category and we are pleased they have this opportunity to talk in an informal manner about mental health.

The first Builders’ Lunch was held on Wednesday 5 June at the Domis construction site, The Crescent, Salford where 392 apartments are being built.

To keep up to date and join Reach Out; Start to End Suicide visit the website and follow us on social media @reachoustes

For more information email Dennis Baldwin.

If you are worried about someone or are experiencing thoughts of suicide contact:

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a national charity supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

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