In England 13 people kill themselves every day, that’s one person every 90 minutes – the length of a football match.
World Suicide Prevention Day takes place on Thursday 10 September, and to promote this, Cheshire East Council is launching a new suicide prevention programme.
A community interest company called The Outsiders are delivering the 12th Man campaign. The idea behind the 12th Man is taken from a football team using its crowd of supporters as its 12th person to their 11-player team. Supporters encourage and motivate their team to perform better and support them whether they’re moving up the league or risking relegation. The 12th man supports their team through the best of times and the worst of times.
The campaign is about calling on individuals in the community to recognise when a friend, colleague or relative is struggling and to act as their 12th man by offering support and solidarity when they need it the most, just like football supporters do with their team. This will encourage men to share their emotions and not hide them, empowering them to talk about mental health more openly, more often, and without stigma or prejudice.
The campaign which will be implemented across Cheshire East, will help men develop the skills and tactics needed to support each other when they are struggling to cope and finding life difficult. Talking openly with each other will help to end the stigma that can currently be a barrier for men seeking help.
Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 50 and a leading cause of death in young men. In England, three out of every four suicides are men. Male suicide rates are significantly higher than female rates in almost every country across the globe.
Councillor Jill Rhodes, Cabinet member for public health and corporates services at Cheshire East Council, said: “Talking about our mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever.
“Programmes like the 12th Man campaign can have a big impact in reducing the numbers of men who feel lonely or isolated and can also help to reduce the number who may think about or attempt to take their own life.”
Nick Little, founder of The Outsiders, said: “The 12th Man campaign aims to get men talking about mental health. We are excited to run the campaign in East Cheshire and we hope this will be the next step in our aim to establish the campaign in communities across the country.
“The key to our campaign is collaboration between local businesses and interest groups and we look forward to helping facilitate this in Crewe and Macclesfield.”