‘It’s time to talk’ - that is the clear message of concerned loved ones and mental health experts after five young men have reportedly taken their lives since Boxing Day.

The shocking deaths in Furness prove more must be done to help young men open up about their inner battles and seek help before it is too late.

So today The Mail is launching its ‘Time to Talk’ campaign to highlight the support and advice that is widely available for anyone in crisis.

Two young men taken too soon are 18-year-old Jake Davies, from Askam, and 27-year-old Will Taylor, from Barrow.

Mental health campaigner Dan Webber made a heartfelt plea urging men not to suffer in silence

“I know or know of six people who have taken their own lives since Boxing Day,” he said.

“Those are shocking statistics for a small town like Barrow and they’re just people that I know - the numbers will be higher.”

Mr Webber, whose Kick Off 4 initiative aims to reduce stigma surrounding mental health, said: “I just really want to stress the importance of speaking out, seek help if you need it there are people out there – the Samaritans, Mind, First Steps, your GP, family, friends and anyone you want to talk to.

“There will be someone there even if you think no-one will listen.

“There is someone that cares for you, there is someone who loves you and I think it’s massively important to speak out.

“My inbox is always open, send me a message – you are not on your own. You are loved despite what you think.”

The Time to Talk campaign aims to shed the light on the fact some men are keeping their problems bottled up leading to tragic consequences.

The Mail wants to encourage a more open dialogue about mental health and help to remove the stigma surrounding asking for help.

We plan to work alongside charities to raise awareness of the behind-the-scenes work they do to show people the support available and to prove they are not alone.

Suicide prevention is a responsibility of the whole community and something we can achieve by reaching out to loved ones and letting them know it’s OK not to be OK.

“Suicide is a major problem in society and Cumbria is no exception to this,” said a spokesman from Cumbria Partnership Trust, which provides mental health services across the county.

“We know that the vast majority of people who go on to die by suicide have never accessed professional support, so it is vital that everyone in society understands that suicide prevention is everyone’s business,

“Suicide prevention is a priority for the Trust and we are an active member of the Cumbria wide suicide prevention strategy.

“We are working with our partners in health and care and the third sector to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

“We would urge as many people as possible to undertake the free suicide prevention training courses that are available across the county.

“The more that people understand about mental ill health, how to spot the signs that someone may be struggling and how to support them; the more that we can help people realise that they are not alone.”

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock lent his support to the campaign.

“It is so sad when anyone takes their own life and to hear that five young men have done so locally in recent months is heartbreaking,” he said.

“Campaigns encouraging people to talk about their mental health issues and ask for support are very important but these tragedies show how far we still have to go. Young men in particular often find it hardest to admit they have a problem for fear of seeming weak, we must redouble our efforts to overcome that stigma.

“But changing attitudes to mental health is only part of the solution - there are simply not the resources to deal with the mental health crisis afflicting our communities. Many young people cannot get any professional help until they are at crisis point - and that is clearly far too late.”

Karen Dobson, from Mind in Furness, said: “We need to be encouraging workplaces to ensure they can support staff and have conversations.

“We need to make sure mental health awareness is taught in schools and colleges and that it features in work place inductions.

“It needs to be discussed with young lads in sports activities.

“Anything that makes people see it’s ok to admit there is a problem and its ok to seek help is welcome.”

Where to seek help

The Samaritans free helpline can be contacted 24hours a day 365 days a year by phoning 116 123.

Local support is available from Mind in Furness (Tel: 01229 827094), Ulverston Mind (Tel: 01229 581578) and South Lakeland Mind (Tel: 01539 740591)

For those bereaved by suicide you can find your nearest SOBS support group at https://uksobs.org or call 0300 111 5065

For children bereaved by suicide the Child Bereavement UK helpline is 0800 02 888 40