A LEADING Dorset mental health campaigner has accused the county’s Public Health organisation of ‘misleading’ the public over its statement that it has a suicide prevention plan in existence.

Marianne Storey, chief Executive of Dorset Mind, said she ‘suspects’ that despite the Healthier Lives website saying the Suicide Prevention Plan was in existence, it ‘should have been agreed and published but has not’. “This is potentially rather misleading for the public,” she claimed.

Her allegations were made in a letter to Public Health Dorset, the government-backed organisation whose job it is to ‘improve and protect the health and wellbeing of the population across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.’

The letter was triggered by first meeting of the newly formed Dorset Mental Health Alliance which takes place in Dorchester this afternoon. Nearly 90 organisations, people, charities, communities and groups working in Dorset mental health will discuss suicide prevention in the county.

Dorset currently ranks 69th out of 149 local authorities for death by suicide with 111 people recorded as taking their own lives between 2014 and 2016.

“It is inevitable that the members of the Dorset Mental Health Alliance will want to ask questions about why the Suicide Prevention Plan for Dorset has not been finalised,” said Ms Storey. “In anticipation of this I am wondering whether someone from Public Health Dorset may wish to make a comment or help us form a statement of the current position.”

The Bournemouth Echo contacted Public Health Dorset for comment. The Public Health England website, on which the suicide death rate and the existence or otherwise of prevention plans is reported, clearly states that a plan is in existence.