MORE than a thousand staff and residents are to receive suicide prevention training as part of a strategy to reduce the record-breaking number of people who take their own lives in Barnsley.

Barnsley Council has announced it will be working with the national charity, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, to deliver training to staff and residents who have contact with children, young people and adults.

The training aims to provide suicide prevention knowledge and skills to the workforce and community to intervene early and equip them with the skills and knowledge to have supportive conversations.

Office for National Statistics figures show 37 deaths from suicide were registered in Barnsley in 2021 - the latest year available - and it was up from 31 the year before.

A further 28 suicide deaths were recorded in 2019, meaning there were 14.8 suicides per 100,000 people in the area in the three years to 2021.

The training will take place over the next three years as part of the Barnsley Suicide Prevention Project, which is working to develop better ways of preventing the loss of life to suicide.

James Parkes, area manager for PAPYRUS, said: “Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK and we believe many suicides can be prevented.

“By offering training to a variety of professionals and residents, Barnsley Council will be spreading greater awareness, investing in lifesaving skills and ultimately helping to save lives.

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“Prevention is everybody’s business - we need to break down the stigma around suicide and equip people and communities with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.”

Barnsley’s Mental Health Partnership - an alliance of partners which are involved in suicide prevention including South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, South Yorkshire Police and the council - has committed to a ‘zero suicide’ ambition to ensure support services are signposted.

Part of the strategy is the ‘Alright Pal?’ campaign which encourages people to start conversations with friends and families around mental health and wellbeing, to break down stigma that discourages talking about suicide or poor mental health.

Barnsley Council’s public health team have commissioned the training, which will be free to attend for those living and working in the town.

Coun Wendy Cain, cabinet spokesperson for public health and communities, added: “I’m pleased to announce a significant stride in our commitment to Barnsley residents’ wellbeing.

“We recognise the importance of arming our community with the skills to address and prevent suicide.

“These training programs are pivotal in developing effective strategies to avert tragic loss of life.”

* For confidential help and advice, please contact PAPYRUS on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email