Tyneside has seen an alarming rise in the number of people calling Samaritans.
Figures released by the charity show more than 37,000 desperate pleas were made last year, with nearly 5,000 of those coming from people considering taking their own lives.
The suicide rate in the North East is the highest in England, 13.8 per 100,000, compared with 7.9 in London, a figure which gives great concern to Samaritans.
Libby Hibbert, Director of Samaritans of Tyneside, said the number of callers has risen steadily over the past few years.
“Callers talk about a wide range of troubles that they may be unable to share with the people closest to them. Others are lonely and have no-one close to speak to.
“Some people have mental health difficulties that may affect their relationships or ability to work, some have other illnesses, and some have split up with their partners, some have financial worries, others are upset about bullying and some want to talk about their addictions.”
Samaritans of Tyneside is based at Jesmond, in Newcastle, where more than 100 volunteers answer the telephones.
Shirley Smith, of Chester-le-Street mental health charity Ifucareshare, urges anyone having suicidal thoughts to confide in someone.
“We have seen an increase in the demand for our service. That could be because people are coming more and aware of what we do. But, I would say the impact of suicide devastates communities and one suicide is one too many.
“Often for those left feeling suicidal there is always something that can be done. Terrific services like Samaritans help people at times of crisis are imperative.
“The most important thing is to reach out for that help. Speak to somebody, let somebody know how you are feeling. Talk to your GP, talk to a friend, that’s the most important thing; start the conversation.
“One of the things most families who have been affected by suicide say is that they didn’t know their loved ones were feeling that way. As a charity we believe there is always a way out. People do not feel suicidal forever. It can be a very temporary feeling. But feeling so low you can think of nothing else.
“Getting the right help at the right time is really important.”
Some of the concerns raised by people contacting Samaritans of Tyneside include financial problems, illness, job loss, bullying, low self esteem, bereavement, guilt, stress/anxiety, divorce, and access to children.
Ifucareshare can be reached on 0191 397 5661.
CALM– Campaign Against Living Miserably– specialise in male’s mental health and can be reached on 0800 58 58 58.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 20 Apr 2015