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Former sports stars step-up to help stop suicide stigma

29th January 2020

Former football and rugby heroes Paul Stewart and Danny Sculthorpe have made their debut in films promoting Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System’s ongoing Let’s Talk To Prevent Male Suicide campaign.

Every 40 seconds someone in the world dies from suicide, and to mark this, two 40 second films have been made, promoting messages around male suicide prevention.

The campaign targets organisations, community groups, sports clubs and employers in the region, encouraging managers, colleagues, family and friends to talk to prevent suicide, The aim is to create stigma-free environments where people can seek help as well as reach out to people they are worried about.

In the films Danny and Paul share their own thoughts.

Former Widnes and Wigan prop, Danny says: “I believe that if a man comes forward and admits he's struggling, he's more of a man than if he doesn't.”

Former Blackpool forward, Paul says: “Almost every day I experience suicidal thoughts, but I know that talking has really helped me.”

Suicide rates in Lancashire and South Cumbria are the third highest in England, and suicide is the biggest killer of men under age 49. Of those who die by suicide, 67 per cent are not known to mental health services, so the ICS is working to reduce suicide and demonstrate that we all can make a difference

Louise Thomas, Mental Health Clinical Network Programme Manager for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, said:

“It’s been a pleasure to have Danny and Paul involved in this campaign. It’s so important to have the voices of men tackling the stigma surrounding male suicide.

“By working together we’re able to drive the key messages around reaching out for help and talking more openly about suicide. We’re very thankful to both of them for giving up their time to help such a worthwhile campaign.”

The videos can be seen here: Danny’s video and Paul’s video.

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