IT is incredibly distressing to read through your pages of so many people, from children to the elderly, taking their own lives locally. Obviously we are acutely aware of those who die on railway lines but inquest reports tell us that there are many more.

More and more we hear about the delay in accessing acute mental health services. There are no 24-hour drop-in services – although there is telephone and the Samaritans – and there is assessing/triaging of referrals from GPs.

We all know there is an acute shortage of money in the NHS but I do question the implementation of triage between the referral from a GP to being seen by a secondary care professional. How much does this new layer of administration, monetarily and indeed in terms of mental health the loss of lives, cost?

The answer is not more guards on platforms – the railway lines are easily accessible for the determined. Services have to be available locally and people should be seen on the day when requested by a GP. I’ve heard that some people self-refer to St. Anne’s but are sent away.

I’ve experienced suicide and failed attempts in my family and amongst my friends. Things really need to improve drastically.

The whole situation has become a major crisis and needs urgent review at all levels. Can’t the local health scrutiny committees call the NHS trusts and clinical commissioning group to be scrutinised and make a plan of action to address this growing issue?

I know of Conservative councillors from Poole who have raised the issue of an urgent multi-agency review with the most senior BCP officers and let’s hope something starts to happen soon.

There’s no point raising publicity around suicide prevention through multi-media if there’s no service to access. That response will make the patient feel even more undeserving and unworthy – have you any idea of the courage needed to ask for help?

Care in the community relies on there being communities, families and friends to provide the care. Realistically people in a mental health crisis need a safe bed and support with a planned return to the community – but beds are getting fewer and constantly closing and are even far, far away.

Let’s encourage the NHS trusts, GPs, police, councils, and others to work together and help each other.

Lives can and should be saved.


Bournemouth Road, Poole