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Fife councillors call for help and support at known suicide risk areas

Gavin Ellis.
Gavin Ellis.

Help could be provided for people in crisis at known suicide spots in Dunfermline, if a motion by Fife councillors receives backing.

The call by Conservative members Gavin Ellis and David J Ross follows a spate of incidents of people taking their own lives in the area over the last year.

Mr Ellis said installing signs offering support for those at their lowest ebb, similar to those used by charities on bridges and at railway stations, would be a way of helping to prevent tragedy.

He said messages could ask questions such as “have you told a friend?” and offer contact details for local support services.

An example of the kind of sign Mr Ellis would like to see.

Scottish Government figures, published last year, showed 381 people took their own lives in Fife between 2011 and 2017.

Mr Ellis said: “Here in west Fife we are more than aware of the recent incidents from the last year. It’s tragic.

“We have many great resources here in Fife such as Andy’s Man Club, SAMHS and Support in Mind Scotland, yet so much more could be done.”

A number of charities including the Samaritans already work with the likes of Network Rail to provide signs at known suicide locations.

Mr Ellis said: “This motion simply calls for Fife Council to bring forward a report on how we can support our residents in these dark times by placing similar signage in our known suicide locations here in Dunfermline and west Fife.”

He said information on local groups that offer help and support could also be given.

Mr Ellis’s motion, seconded by fellow Conservative David J Ross, also calls on the council’s Dunfermline area committee to work with local and national groups on the issue of suicide prevention.

It will be put before the area committee on Tuesday.

In August, it was revealed police in Fife are dealing with suicides almost every day.

Chief Inspector Michael Williamson, area commander for south west Fife, said: “Sadly, on an almost daily basis, my officers will respond to a report of a death which turns out to be a suicide.”

Councillors in the area have already agreed to have mental health first-aid training and to attend courses aimed at encouraging people to talk and to build self-esteem.

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