More than 150 people died by suicide between 2011-2018 in North Ayrshire according to statistics.

The figures, which were released by NHS National Services Scotland last week came as part of a wider report into the number of people completing suicide across Scotland and the services they accessed before attempting the act.

Of the 151 who died by suicide in North Ayrshire, 47 per cent contacted a service such as NHS 24, Scottish Ambulance Service or GP Out-Of-Hours within 12 months of their death. The majority contacted NHS 24, though statistics for those who accessed GP Out-Of-Hours services were only available from April 2014.

A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Partnership at North Ayrshire Council said: “Every life matters and any death by suicide should never be regarded as acceptable or inevitable. Every one of us can play a part in making a difference.

“We work closely with our schools, Police Scotland, CAMHS, NHS and other partners to ensure we can react swiftly to any potential issues.

“But raising awareness and getting more people to talk about mental health is a huge part of what we are trying to achieve. We launched our ‘13 Ways to Support Your Friend if they are struggling’ social media campaign in 2018 to help young people reach out to each other and make it easier to talk about difficult feelings and find someone they trust to help seek support. A series of Instagram posts are sent out over 13 weeks sending key messages for young people. They have been developed and voiced by young people in North Ayrshire.”

The spokesperson added: “If someone you are close to shows signs of not being themselves, you will normally notice. When changes in their behaviour begin to worry you – even if the signs come and go – the most important aspect is to ask them about it.

“Talking openly about their feelings can help a person get clarity about what is troubling them. Starting this conversation helps them gain a perspective on their distress. You don’t need to have a solution to their problems – being there for them and listening, without judgement, shows that you care and their distress, and ultimately their happiness, is important to you.

“Ask if they are thinking about suicide. It won’t put the thought into their head if it wasn’t there before, but it can be a big relief for them to be able to open up fully and acknowledge they need help and support. By taking the time to show you care and are there to listen, you could change their life.”

If you need help, call:

Samaritans 116 123

Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87

CALM (for men) 0800 58 58 58