Charity has had to give staff special training after increase in suicidal callers

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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Health & Education Editor

STAFF who work for a North-East charity have had to be trained to deal with suicidal callers, after an increase in calls from people in severe mental distress because of benefit cuts.

Lyn Boyd, chief executive of the Mental Health North East charity, said: "Over Christmas I was contacted personally by a service user who was feeling suicidal because of an impending Employment and Support Allowance review.

"We have seen an increase in calls to our office from people experiencing severe mental distress, over fears that they may lose vital benefits such as ESA, which provide a lifeline to people who are unable to work due to debilitating mental health problems.

"Because of the increase in distress calls MHNE has made it a priority that all staff are better equipped to offer support to callers."

Ms Boyd said all MHNE staff are now trained in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills, provided by Chester-Le-Street and Durham City Mind.

Based in Birtley, County Durham, MHNE is a consortium of voluntary sector organisations working with people suffering mental distress.

Following reports last week showing a significant increase in the number of people in the North-East taking their own lives last year, MHNE is calling for North-East organisations, including local authorities, voluntary and charitable groups and private sector organisations to press the Government to look at the specific factors affecting the North-East and take action to prevent further increases in suicides in this area.

The North-East had the highest suicide rate in the country in 2011. A total of 218 men took their own lives in that year as well as 55 women.

Comments (1)

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12:19am Tue 29 Jan 13

stevegg says...

The only stress most of the benefit claimants phoning in about is because they dont want to enter the real world of work `and think they should be allowed a lifetime on generous benefits at no cost to themselves. In years gone by they would have been to told to give themselves a shake and get on with it but now we have to pander to these people and treat them as victims of a harsh regime. Most working people have to face trials and tribulations in their lives but they just knuckle down and soldier on - why should these be people be any different??
The only stress most of the benefit claimants phoning in about is because they dont want to enter the real world of work `and think they should be allowed a lifetime on generous benefits at no cost to themselves. In years gone by they would have been to told to give themselves a shake and get on with it but now we have to pander to these people and treat them as victims of a harsh regime. Most working people have to face trials and tribulations in their lives but they just knuckle down and soldier on - why should these be people be any different?? stevegg
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