Islington Mayor: I want to open up a conversation on male suicide
- Credit: Islington Council
Having lost friends and family to suicide, The Mayor of Islington is using his year in office to encourage men to talk about their mental health problems.
Mayor Troy Gallagher is the first in the role to make suicide his chosen cause for the year, in an effort to remove any taboo around talking about feelings.
In Islington, 71 per cent of all suicides are men, a similar figure to the national average, with 45-49 the most common age group. In 2017-19, the most recent period for which data is available, 37 men took their own lives in the borough, compared to 17 women. Three people have committed suicide in the borough in the past three months.
“I have been very clear about tackling the issue,” the Mayor said ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Friday, “And I want to open up a conversation.
“Men have difficulty in opening up about mental health issues, they don’t want to be seen as a burden or appear to be weak.
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“And it is when people don’t talk that they can end up taking their own lives.”
The Mayor, who is openly gay and was born and brought up in Ireland, chose three local charities which can all support people going through a tough time.
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These are: James’ Place, a newly opened Farringdon centre which offers therapeutic intervention to prevent male suicide; forum+, which promotes support for the LGBTQ+ community in Islington and Camden; and, icap, which provides counselling and psychotherapy for the Irish community in Britain.
He used his inauguration speech in May to announce his intentions of “starting a conversation” and has praised James' Place for responding to calls to help quickly.
“People have told me they are so grateful for this being on the agenda,” said the Mayor - who, as a councillor, has received and responded to cry for help emails and calls.
“I have been holding talks and fundraising events, and will continue to do so.”
Call Samaritans for free on 116 123, email them at email@example.com, or visit www.samaritans.org