CROWDS gathered in Barrow for the launch of a new suicide awareness initiative.

Almost 100 members of the public as well as various organisations from across the area including Cumbria County Council, Mind in Furness and Barrow Men’s Group, piled into the Army Reserve Centre at Holker Street for the launch of the new Suicide Safer Barrow initiative.

The initiative, delivered by Every Life Matters, aims to reduce suicide in the area.

Every Life Matters, a new Cumbria Suicide Prevention Charity, was set up in late 2018 to address Cumbria’s high suicide rates.

Those in attendance heard from the founders of Every Life Matters, Juliet Gray, Kate Bainbridge and Chris Wood.

They spoke about the importance of allowing people to be comfortable talking about suicide.

Juliet Gray, Training Manager, and co-founder of Every Life Matters said: “Suicide needs to be addressed across all areas of our society.

“Around three quarters of people who die by suicide are not in contact with any mental health services in the year leading up to their death.

“This means suicide prevention needs to be a community wide concern.”

Speaking after the event, Chris Wood, development manager and co-founder said: “The event was about bringing as many people as we could into one room and show they could play their part.

“We wanted to galvanise support and we got that both in Barrow and Copeland.

“It has generated interest from 300 to 400 people who have said they want to get trained.

“It was a fabulous event.

“Local communities have to play their part, it is friends, family and colleagues who are best placed to not a difference in people.”

Mr Wood spoke about doing more work in the community including an open training session at Askam Rugby Club on May 22.

Barrow mayor Cllr Bill McEwan said: “I want to see Barrow Council get involved. I’m 100 per cent behind these kinds of projects.”

It was launched during Mental Health Awareness Week.