SUICIDES rates in Hampshire have declined to the lowest rate in nine years, new figures reveal.

According to the Office for National Statistics, Hampshire saw a 10per cent decrease with 88 suicides last year compared to 98 in 2015.

Last year 5,668 people took their own lives across Great Britain, which is the lowest since 2011.

The figures were released in line with World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday, September 10, which is an annual awareness raising day organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevent and the World Health Organisation.

This year’s theme is about connecting with others and letting people know #ITSOKAYTOTALK.

Hampshire Police is one body integrating this strategy into its four-year piloted programme called Serenity Integrated Mentoring, in which police officers are designated to work with mental health nurses intensively supporting high suicide risk service users and working through their complex needs.

The integration of services and support, and the wider High Intensity Network programme won the bid from the NHS Innovation Accelerator for a year’s funding and accelerating the implementation of the scheme, which in ten months saw 15 NHS trusts signed up.

NHS England have committed to roll out the initiative nationwide, and Hampshire Constabulary project lead Sergeant Paul Jennings said the results are very positive.

Sgt Jennings added: “We are definitely preventing suicide, and mental health detentions by police are decreasing- it went from 20 or so to none two months ago.

“The first thing really people should do is speak to the person, mental illnesses look scarier than they are.

“What we find about 75 per cent of people who call us can be left in the community, we can de-escalate the crisis, and the public can too. Mental health is everybody’s business.

“If you are not confident in doing that then call us or the local mental health team.”

The Samaritans are advising people in the wake of World Suicide Prevention Day for the public to start a conversation with others, reach out to those struggling to cope as it can give them the confidence to open up about how they are feeling.

To speak to the Samaritans call 116 123.