It's Time to Talk as council launches Suicide Prevention Strategy

To coincide with national mental health campaign Time to Talk day, the council is launching its ‘Suicide Prevention Strategy 2018-2021.’ The annual day on 1 February aims to encourage everyone to talk about mental health and end the stigma around it.

One in four people are affected by mental health at some point during their lifetime however suicide is often a taboo topic. Talking openly about mental health is considered an important preventative measure.

In Tower Hamlets, the suicide rate (8.6 out of 100,000) is lower than that of England (9.9) and slightly lower than the London average (8.7). However, the council recognises that more can be done to prevent suicide and suicide attempts.

Four in five suicide victims are men, and over half of all suicides are in men and women aged 20-39. A number of deaths have been among the student population, and a significant number have not been registered with a GP making it difficult for them to access the help they need.

Drawing upon local data and wider evidence around suicide prevention the strategy outlines five key priority actions areas: 1. Early Intervention and Prevention, 2. Improving help for those in crisis, 3. Identifying the needs of vulnerable people, 4. Addressing training needs, and 5. Communication and awareness.

A multi-agency suicide prevention group, led by Tower Hamlets Council and experts from the NHS, the Metropolitan Police, Queen Mary University of London, Transport for London, and the voluntary sector including Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham and Samaritans, will be responsible for overseeing implementation.

The council will put in place a communication strategy to support national and regional awareness campaigns, and has signed the Time to Talk pledge to engage their staff and local community partners in promoting open and safe places to discuss mental health.
Nearly 140 frontline staff in Tower Hamlets have already been trained in suicide prevention, and plan to train a further 250 before the end of the year.

Most people who choose to end their lives do so for complex reasons. There are a range of factors that can contribute to the risk of suicide, including life history, developing a serious mental health condition; alcohol and drug misuse; unemployment and distressing life events such bereavement, debt and relationship breakdown.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:

“Suicide is a personal tragedy and a profound loss for the family, friends and community affected. While Tower Hamlets already has a strong record for its mental health services, we want to ensure that there is a system of continuous improvement.

"Our new Suicide Prevention Strategy is aimed at making sure our services are joined up, easy to access and that we are drawing on the best available evidence.”

Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services Cllr Denise Jones said:

“This strategy is about working together and sharing information to prevent duplication and ensure that those at risk receive the best possible care.

"Communication and awareness is crucial to suicide prevention, and the national Time to Talk Day is an opportunity to remind all of us what role we can play to support friends, family and members of our community affected by mental health issues. ”

More information

For more information on local mental health charity Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham visit:

For top tips on how to improve mental health, how to get the conversation started and to sign up to the Time to Change pledge visit:

For further information on Time to Talk visit:

Emergency 999

If you are concerned that harm to yourself or others is occurring or about to occur call the police and ambulance services

Tel: 999

Explain your concerns in as much detail as possible to allow the call handler to provide the most appropriate response.

NHS 111

If you need medical help but it is not an emergency

Tel: 111

The Samaritans

Confidential emotional support 24 hours 7 days a week

Tel:116 123

Out of hours General Practitioners (GP)

Out of hours GP service

Tower Hamlets: 0300 033 5000

Mental health Crisis support

Tower Hamlets: 020 8121 5499 / 020 8121 5487 (ELFT)

Emergency Duty Service/team

Tower Hamlets: 0207 364 4079



Prevention of young suicide, for under 35s

A national confidential support service for any young people (under 35) at risk of suicide, or anyone worried about a young person at risk of suicide.
10am-10pm Monday-Friday, Weekends 2pm-10pm, and Bank Holidays 2pm-5pm.

Tel: 0800 068 41 41
SMS: 07786 209697

Calls and texts are free from all providers and do not appear on bills

CALM Helpline

Confidential emotional support for men
Confidential, anonymous and free support, information and signposting to men anywhere in the UK through their helpline.
Monday-Friday from 1pm-11pm every day, calls free from landlines and most mobiles.
Tel: 0800 58 58 58, Webchat (5pm - midnight),

Maytree Sanctuary

One-off short stay in a safe place
Maytree Sanctuary - a one-off short stay in a safe place for people in a suicidal crisis.

SANE Mental Health Helpline

SANE's helpline is a national, 7 days a week, out-of-hours (6-11pm) telephone helpline for anyone coping with mental illness, including concerned relatives or friends.
Tel: 0845 767 8000


Help and advice about a wide range of issues

Anyone under 19 in the UK

Childline is free, confidential and available any time, day or night.

Phone, by email or through 1-2-1 counsellor chat.
Tel: 0800 1111 


LGBT+ Helpline

Confidential support from LGBT+ Volunteers

10am-10pm every day

Tel: 0300 330 0630


Petes Dragons

Comfort after a suicide

A range of bereavement support to anyone affected by suicide

Tel: 01395 277 780

Student support/Nightline

Tel: 0207 631 0101/ 07717 989 900

Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Services.

East London Rape Crisis Service

Tel: 020 7683 1210

Tower Hamlets: The Haven Whitechapel Tel: 020 7247 4787



Posted on Friday 2nd February 2018