PEOPLE in Inverclyde are being urged to talk about mental health and suicide to help reduce the number of residents tragically taking their own lives.

A plea has been issued for everyone to look out for family, friends or colleagues who might not seem themselves, on today's World Suicide Prevention Day.

The annual awareness event is being backed by the council and Inverclyde Health & Social Care Partnership.

Last year, 13 people here died of suicide, three less than in 2019.

Historically suicide claims the lives of more men than women but last year deaths were recorded for eight females and five males in Inverclyde.

Councillor Robert Moran, health and social care convener, said: “Suicide is preventable but we all have a duty to look out for our friends, families, neighbours and colleagues and spot any signs that they may be struggling and ensure they get the help and support they need.

“Whether it’s simply lending an ear to listen, talking about our mental health or signposting someone to one of the many first-class services operating in Inverclyde or at a national level, these small acts can go a long way in preventing a loved-one or fellow citizen from taking their own life.

“While there was a reduction in suicide last year, one death is too many and each one represents someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, mum, dad, relative, friend or colleague.

“That’s why it’s important we look out for each other."

The Inverclyde Community Health Team based at Crown House on King Street, Greenock, can be contacted on 01475 558000.

Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide can call Samaritans, which has an Inverclyde branch, free on 116 123, Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 (free Monday-Thursday 6pm-2am and Friday-Monday 6pm-6am) or reach the NHS24 Mental Health Hub on 111 (free, 24 hours per day).