FAMILIES who have been bereaved by suicide will have access to more support in Barnsley as death rates continue to rise year-on-year.

The new service, commissioned by the NHS in Barnsley, offers advice and resources, as well as signposting where children, young people and families can get further support if needed.

It was developed by Chilypep, a young people’s empowerment project.

The number of residents taking their own lives in Barnsley rose last year, shocking new figures revealed.

Figures have risen year-on-year since 2019 when 28 suicide deaths were recorded across the borough.

Office for National Statistics figures show a total of 37 people took their own life in Barnsley last year - up six from 31 the year before.

The town’s three-year suicide rate is also on the rise, currently standing at 14.8 suicides per 100,000 residents - higher than the national average of 10.7.

This was up from 12.7 in 2018 to 2020 and just 10.7 in 2017 to 2019.

The figures only include registrations in 2021, meaning they could include deaths that occurred in 2020 but were registered the following year due to disruption to coroners’ inquests caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Health bosses say the impact of suicide is ‘complex’ and the effects are ‘profound’ - not only for family and friends of the person who has died but also on the wider community.

In response to the rising rates, partners from across the health and social care system have been working together to develop a consistent approach - which has been informed by the experiences of those who have faced the matter.

Diane Lee, head of public health at Barnsley Council, has been leading the work for partners across South Yorkshire.

She said: “We are pleased to be launching this toolkit which will help ensure that everyone around a child and young person who has been bereaved and affected by suicide, knows how to respond and support them.

“We are so grateful to all the children, young people and families who worked with Chilypep to help develop this toolkit, which will ensure others like them get the right support from all the people around them in the aftermath of their bereavement.”

It’s the latest measure taken to reduce suicides by ten per cent across the region, as well as improving support for people living in the aftermath.

It links to the Barnsley Mental Health Partnership - made up of councillors, public health officers, psychologists and medics - who last year committed to a ‘bold and ambitious’ plan to have no suicides in the town.

Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire, said: “Sadly, more people in our region take their own life than they do in other parts of the country.

“The effects of suicide are profound.

“Not only on the family and friends of the person who has died but also on the wider community.

“By joining together as health and care partners across South Yorkshire and also Bassetlaw we believe we can make a real and lasting difference for our citizens.

“This toolkit is a good example of the South Yorkshire spirit.

“Local people, themselves affected by tragedy, have come together to support the development of a tool to help others who find themselves in the same situation.

“I would like to thank them for taking time to support the development of this resource, their input means that we can be confident that we have developed something that will truly help children, young people and families in South Yorkshire.”

To access the service, visit the Chilypep website.