Every so often in this column I revert to the theme of suicide, and more importantly suicide prevention.

According to the Office for National Statistics, Lancashire has the third highest suicide rate in England and Wales. This means that, on average, one person in Lancashire dies by suicide every four days.

There are many reasons why someone may feel their life is no longer worth living. Some of the most common risk factors for suicide include mental illness, financial problems, relationship problems, bullying, trauma, and substance abuse. Suicide is a preventable tragedy.

There are a number of things that we can all do to help reduce the number of suicides in our community. One of the most important things we can do is to talk about suicide openly and honestly.

This helps to reduce the stigma associated with suicide and makes it easier for people to seek help if they are struggling. Another important thing we can do is to learn how to identify and support individuals who are at risk of suicide.

That may well sound easier said than done. However, anyone can learn how to identify and support someone who is at risk of suicide. In fact, ordinary members of the public are often the first people to notice that someone is struggling. By learning how to identify and support individuals at risk of suicide, we can all play a vital role in suicide prevention.

This is where the safeTALK course comes in. safeTALK is a half-day training course that teaches people how to identify and support individuals who are at risk of suicide. The course covers topics such as the risk factors for suicide, the warning signs of suicide, and how to start a conversation with someone who may be at risk.

These courses are available across our area free of charge. The recent one in Blackburn with Darwen was fully subscribed, I will let you know when they are doing the next one.

Elsewhere, for anyone who lives, works, volunteers or studies in the Lancashire County Council area, there is a safeTALK course at PAC in Colne, on Thursday, November 23, in the morning. It is completely free of charge, but you need to book your place. You can find out more by emailing training@P-A-C.org.uk or go to the training page on their website www.P-A-C.org.uk

Put simply, the skills and knowledge you learn could save a life.

If you run any type of support group to help people with their mental health across our area, please contact me with the details wellbeing@martinfurber.com

Please remember. If you are in any type of mental health crisis: Go to your GP or A&E, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258