Almost 50 people died from suicide or an injury of ‘undetermined intent’ between 2015 and 2017 – and fears have been raised over support services being at ‘full stretch’.
Warrington’s suicide audit reports, which are pooled for a three-year period, show the number of suicides in the town in recent years.
The latest document revealed that over 2004-06 there were 49 deaths due to suicide or injury of ‘undetermined intent’, 50 in 2005-07, 51 in 2006-08, 46 in 2007-09, 39 in 2008-10, 39 in 2009-11, 41 in 2010-12, 55 in 2011-13, 64 in 2012-14, 69 in 2013-15, 55 in 2014-16 and 47 in 2015-17.
The number of deaths over 2016-18 totalled 41 – however, this number is still provisional and will be verified after Public Health England publishes its mortality rates in the autumn.
Mark Moran, lead volunteer and founder of mental health support group Resolving Inner Stressful Emotions Warrington, says the rates of mental health cases per capita in the borough amounts to around one in four people.
“In the community, the people paint much more a bleaker picture,” he said.
“Isolation and unemployment are the two main key factors over the last three-year reporting period, 2015-2017.”
But Mr Moran believes, from personal experience out in the field, that mental health services in the borough are at ‘full stretch’.
He added: “To explain, take a large rubber band, stretch it between two thumbs.
“The right thumb is doing the right things, pulling us forward with CQC audits and trying to make the standards that people have agreed.
“However, the left thumb represents the actual position, waiting times, funding reductions, lack of required staff numbers so the band is as tight as can be.
“In the middle is the added weight of actual cost, extra services being delivered without CCG funding (because we have to, to meet the needs of the patient) and time pressures add to this weight too.
“So, it’s a question of when the rubber band snaps and where?
“We need to take control of that rubber band and remove the tension where we can.”
The council says it carries out a range of work at a local and regional level to support people at risk of, or affected by, suicide.
Warrington’s suicide prevention group has representation from a range of sectors, including the Samaritans.
And Town Hall chiefs confirmed the three mental health trusts in Cheshire and Merseyside are working together to share learning and best practice, while developing new standards based upon the national confidential inquiry into suicides and homicides in mental health care.