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‘Pass It On’ Suicide Awareness Campaign Launched

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 35. In the UK, there is one death by suicide every two hours and 75% of those are men. Locally, the North East has one of the highest rates of suicide in men. 

To raise awareness of the suicide risk amongst men and to encourage help-seeking behaviours, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust's Health Improvement Service is launching the 'Pass it On' campaign.

This taboo subject is rarely discussed and men stereotypically do not ask for help or share their problems. The aims of the Pass It On campaign are to challenge the male stereotype that it is a sign of weakness to seek help or talk about feelings, and to promote positive coping strategies for difficult periods in life.

Lee Mack, Associate Director for Health and Wellbeing at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "Men often don't know where to turn to for help; they may not be aware that there are many organisations offering advice and support.  Men stereotypically do not ask for help or share their problems. There is a trend locally for men to have financial and relationship problems and to use alcohol as a coping mechanism and suicide as a way out. Other people may not take these problems seriously and that further isolates men at risk of suicide.

"We hope that people from our local communities, employers and sports clubs will support the public mental health improvement team to cascade the Pass It On message to men in our communities."

Already the 'Pass it On' campaign has received support from over 100 local agencies or organisations following a launch event last month.

Lee explains: "We want to recruit people from all walks of life to become Pass It On champions who will spread the message in the spirit of Pass It On. Pass It On champions recruited from local communities, employers and sports clubs will support the public mental health improvement team to cascade the Pass It On message to men in Darlington and East Durham.  Pass It On Champions simply need to Pass It On; there is no expectation of providing support for individuals or a huge time commitment. We can all Pass It On as part of daily life."

The team has produced a range of supporting literature for the campaign to raise awareness and signpost people to advice and support.

If you would like to find out more about the campaign or how the public mental health improvement team can support you or your organisation to Pass It On please contact Marnie Ramsey, public mental health improvement specialist on 01207 523658 or marnie.ramsey@nhs.net . Or visit: www.health-improvement.cdd.nhs.uk

Published: 6 February 2012

'I feel it is important to relay my experience back to let the staff know they are doing a brilliant job! I would like them to know I appreciated all they did for myself, my family and our beautiful baby girl.'

Patient, Labour Ward, Darlington Memorial Hospital