THE campaign to end the taboo of suicide goes before a full meeting of the Barrow council next week.

Labour party and Conservative members have drawn-up a rare joint motion to put before the 36-seat town hall chamber.

Former Barrow mayor, Cllr Bill McEwan, whose son took his own life, and Dalton North Conservative Ben Shirley, who was particularly affected by a suicide in his community, have joined forces to change attitudes.

The two councillors will call on the borough council to make a ‘series of commitments’ to help those struggling.

They want to see the council offer ‘mental health first aid’ courses for staff and councillors to spot the warning signs of those in a mental health crisis.

They will also call for the creation of ‘mental health first responders’ – to help provide extra on-the-spot support to people in their hour of need.

The motion said: “We call on council to commit to removing the taboo around the subject, to talk openly and freely about one’s own mental health, so that together we become mentally fit and healthy; we look out for one and other and we are equipped with the knowledge to assist if a friend, colleague or a total stranger falls unwell.”

“We ask council to work together in seeking to roll out a publicity campaign

with the aim of raising awareness, training up more people to be mental health

first responders and making our borough an official “every life matters” borough, so that our residents can be supported to live happier lives and know that the help is there when they need it and that they know how to access it”.

Recently published figures show 11 people took their own lives in the Barrow area in 2018.

In Cumbria, it is estimated that around one person every week takes their own life.

Ninety per cent of people who take their own lives have either a ‘diagnosed or undiagnosed’ mental health problem at the time of their death, according to The Samaritans.

The Samaritans can be called free at any time on 116 123.