A new strategy aims to cut the number of suicides in the borough to zero.

Waltham Forest Council has today approved the area’s new suicide prevention strategy at a health scrutiny committee meeting, in which a lack of bereavement support in the borough was flagged up.

The proposals in the new strategy involve bringing the borough in line with a pan-London campaign proposed by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that aims to make the capital a zero suicide city, known as Thrive LDN.

The new plans include offering support services, such as talking therapies and online therapy sessions as well as working with the charity Samaritans to provide intervention services, including listening services and awareness campaigns and tackling stigma.

The council will also organise yearly meetings between senior council staff and coroners to review all cases of suicide and ensure mental health training is rolled out for 170 staff in schools, hospitals and social services.

A dedicated committee will also be set up to carefully evaluate the strategy and the needs of the community.

The strategy documents state that the borough’s changing population, worries about housing, jobs, social mobility and the cost of living have all been considered in the plans.

In England, someone dies as a result of suicide every 100 minutes and for every suicide, between six and 60 other people close to that person and thought to be affected directly.

In 2016, there were 4,575 deaths recorded as suicide, a rate of 9.5 per 100,000 population.

The highest suicide rates in the UK are among males aged 40 to 44 and men are three times as likely than women to take their own lives.

A similar pattern exists in Waltham Forest with 50 men taking their own lives between 2014 and 2016, compared to 11 women.

In the strategy proposals, the council is said to see this as a serious but preventable public health issue.

The national suicide prevention plan also requires every local authority to adopt its own strategy.

The report said: “Suicide and attempted suicides are human tragedies with many contributing factors.

“These acts often occur in circumstances of hopelessness and despair. There is no single cause and no simple solution.

“Suicide can have a profound effect on families, the local community, staff that respond to suicide scenes and witnesses of suicide.

“It is important we provide effective and timely support for families bereaved and other people affected by suicide, for example friends and colleagues.”

If you or anyone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this report help and support is available from Samaritans. Their website can be found at www.samaritans.org or contact their helpline on 116 123.