HUNDREDS of people across Dorset have lost their lives to suicide, the latest figures reveal.

Office for National Statistics data shows 121 people were registered as having died by suicide in Dorset between 2018 and 2020 - in the BCP Council area, 131 people died by suicide.

Samaritans is urging the Government to account for the “strong connection” between economic deprivation and suicide into its post-pandemic economic recovery plans.

Jacqui Morrissey, assistant director of research and influencing at Samaritans, said: “Any life lost to suicide is a tragedy and we know that the after-effects of the extraordinary last 18 months will continue to impact people’s lives in the years to come.

“Funding should be made available in the forthcoming spending review for targeted investment in local areas to further develop and deliver practical support services to prevent suicide among groups at the highest risk, particularly middle-aged men.”

Brian Dow, deputy CEO of charity Rethink Mental Illness and co-chairman of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, said the pandemic had led to an increase in risk factors for suicide, including debt, housing instability and access to care.

He said: “Reform and investment in health, social care and our benefits system, which provide vital support to so many, is critical."

The Local Government Association said suicide prevention was a public health priority and every council had a suicide prevention plan in place.

Sophia Callaghan, Assistant Director of Public Health on behalf of the Dorset multi-agency suicide prevention steering group of BCP Council, Dorset CCG and Public Health Dorset said: “We work as a Dorset multi-agency group with a joined-up suicide prevention programme. The group has members from the community, voluntary and charity sector working hand in hand with statutory organisations including NHS services, local councils, public health, police and fire services.

“Our main ambition is to work to prevent all deaths by suicide where possible. A death by suicide can have a big impact on family members and the wider community. We are working together to support vulnerable people, those who have been bereaved, as well as those in crisis, and give them the help they need.

“I’d encourage everyone to support our Light On campaign which is a mental wellbeing campaign by the people of Dorset for Dorset. By simply talking with one and another, we can improve our mental health and those around us. It can start with a message or a phone call. Together we can create a new norm by talking about mental health.”

The Samaritans can be called free at any time on 116 123 or visit to find details of your nearest branch.