Emergency calls for suicide in Leeds more than double in just five years

Emergency calls in Leeds mentioning suicide have more than doubled in the last five years.

Emergency calls in Leeds about suicide have more than doubled in five years

999 calls in the city which mention suicide rose 222 per cent between 2014 and 2019.

Data from West Yorkshire Police shows that calls with "SUICID" in the log text have risen from 1,332 in 2014/15 to 4,286 in 2018/19.

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"SUICID" may have referred to the words suicide or suicidal.

A total of 1,826 calls referring to SUICID were recorded in 2015/16, followed by 2,354 in 2016/17. There were a further 3,066 in 2017/18.

In total, there were 12,829 such incidents recorded over five years in Leeds.

The data was sourced through a Freedom of Information request submitted by the media literacy charity The Student View.

However, though the number of people seeking help for suicide appears to have risen, Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service said lockdown has seen an unexpected drop in the number of people getting in touch.

A spokeswoman said: “It has been quieter than expected over the last couple of months, but we’re monitoring closely and expecting the use of the service to go up.

“We’re in an unprecedented time and nobody has known what to expect. We’re doing everything behind the scenes to ensure the service continues as normally as possible.

“People are really struggling right now but they are reaching out. There’s a lot of support out there for anyone in need.

The charity said the service has been adapted so that it can be delivered over the phone rather than in person but the team are still taking referrals and keen to support anyone in need of counselling, advice or someone to talk to.

There are a number of charities available to support anyone at urgent risk of suicide including Samaritans and the Connect helpline.

For anyone suffering a bereavement due to suicide, the Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service and the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Suicide Bereavement Service are taking referrals.