A SENIOR councillor who has lost two relatives who have taken their own lives has spoken out in the run up to World Suicide Prevention Day.

Hundreds of people in Blackburn and Darwen will come together on Saturday 10 September 10 in two public vigils outside the borough's Town Halls.

They are open to everyone and are a main part of a programme of events and activities.

This year’s proceedings will begin at 11am with a multi-faith vigil outside Blackburn Town Hall featuring speeches and the lighting of a candle.

The main part of the vigil will include a 40 seconds silence to signify that one person dies of suicide around the world every 40 seconds.

At noon a procession will carry the candle to Darwen where a vigil will take place in Darwen Town Hall Square at 2pm.

Cllr Brian Taylor, who chairs the Suicide Prevention Strategic Group has recently undertaken a Suicide Prevention Course said: "I have been a mental health and suicide prevention advocate for some time now, and these courses are incredibly informative and useful in terms of being able to feel more comfortable talking people who may be struggling or at risk.

"I have lost two close relatives to suicide so this is very important to me and is a subject very close to my heart. I want to help people and help to promote these courses to help people become more comfortable taking about the subject of suicide.

"I think a lot of people are worried about saying the wrong thing to people having mental health difficulties and these courses are important in giving people the confidence to reach out and help people.”

Cllr Quesir Mahmood, Deputy Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "The effects of suicide can be wide ranging with family, friends and whole communities impacted. Every story is heart-breaking."