People are being urged to reach out to those struggling to cope

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With Christmas fast approaching, people of Hartlepool are being urged to take care of their mental and physical wellbeing as latest figures reveal men are more than four times likely to take their own life through suicide.

Latest statistics from Public Health England reveal in the past three years 19 people in Hartlepool have died by suicide - of those 16 were men.

It is a crisis that can happen to anyone.

Iain Caldwell

With Christmas weeks away and the stresses and pressures surrounding this time of year, charity Mind say this could be the time we need to take a step back and think about ourselves.

It is also a time when friends and family need to reach out to those who may be finding the festive season difficult.

The figures come as Hartlepool Mind reveals approximately 3,000 people accessed their service this year.

Iain Caldwell, chief executive for Hartlepool Mind said: “We know 75% of people who end their life with suicide are not known to mental health services, suggesting it is a crisis that can happen to anyone.”

Today, we are calling on people to reach out to others and to let those that are struggling know that there can be light at the end of the tunnel.

The charity is also keen to rid the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health to encourage more people to seek support and to help people not to be scared to talk to friends they fear may be having suicidal thoughts.

Information from Mind reveals loneliness can increase stress levels and can contribute to mental health problems with over half of people who have experienced depression or anxiety isolating themselves from family and friends.

It is thought stigma and discrimination leads to some people not seeking help, with nine out of 10 people reporting their mental health problem has a negative impact on their lives.

People across Hartlepool are now being urged to get behind the campaign, talk to their friends and reach out to those who may be struggling, not just at Christmas but all year round.

* Our articles will cover the 12-days leading up to Christmas which statistically is a tough time for people unable to cope.

With the help of Hartlepool Mind, we will be focusing on a different topic all about mental health and wellbeing as well as inviting you to carry out a small act of kindness. The campaign aims to encourage people to reach out to others and for those that are struggling, that there can be light at the end of the tunnel. For information on Hartlepool Mind, call 01429 269303 or visit www.hartlepoolmind.co.uk Samaritans can be contacted by calling: 116 123: Email: jo@samaritans.org: Visit: www.samaritans.org