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Public thanked following Facebook suicide prevention surgery

Cumbria Police joined local suicide prevention charities in hosting an online ‘suicide awareness surgery’ last night (10 Sept).

The event was held virtually via Facebook and was aimed at raising awareness whilst promoting the services that are available to anyone who is going through a mental health crisis, or knows someone who is struggling.

However, as well as publishing sign-posting and other information, the event also saw around a dozen individuals from around the county make contact – both publicly and privately – to ask questions and seek help and advice.

Agencies represented at the online event included the Samaritans, Every Life Matters, Cumbria County Council, the NHS and Cumbria Police. The event was seen by more than 30,000 people and will remain on the Cumbria Police Facebook page for people to view indefinitely.

Mike Conefrey, Chair of Cumbria Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, said: “This was my first opportunity to be involved with a live online surgery. It was a great opportunity for people discuss this difficult subject in a safe and supportive environment. My thanks to the Cumbria Constabulary for hosting this interesting and informative event, hopefully more to come.”

Chris Wood of Every Life Matters said: “Suicide is a real and serious issue in our County. Too many people are dying, and it’s more important than ever that we spread messages of hope with events like last night’s online surgery. Hope that there is help and support available when all feels lost or when we are struggling to cope.”

Katherine McGleenan, Suicide Prevention Network Program Lead for the North-East and North Cumbria, said: “I was delighted to be able to take part in the first online suicide prevention surgery with Cumbria Police.

“This was a fantastic way to reach out to a wide audience of people who may not otherwise have been aware of where or how to ask for help and information about such an important and sensitive subject. It was great to see so many people respond and this helped us get the message out that there is support available and that people don’t have to struggle alone.

“I hope to be  involved in more of these events in the near future so that we can continue to reach out to people with messages of hope.”

Superintendent Carl Patrick of Cumbria Police said: “I’d like to thank all of the different agencies for coming together to put on this online surgery and the members of the public who got in touch.

“In setting the event up, we decided that if it helped just one or two people who were going through a crisis, or knew someone who was, then it would be a success. However, from the interaction we received last night and the number of people who have seen the posts, we’re hopeful many more people have benefited.

“The feedback from the public has been positive and we will look ahead to whether more such events will be beneficial in the future.”

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