WIRRAL'S first suicide prevention centre has been launched in memory of Martin Gallier.

A talented carpenter, Martin lost his life to suicide in February 2017 and during his nine month inquest, his family realised that many opportunities to save his life had been missed.

So his daughter Jessica Gallier and fellow director Claire Doherty decided to launch The Martin Gallier Project to ensure that no-one else falls through the cracks.

The project received a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery to be able to provide three rounds of a specialist suicide prevention training programme this year.

Called ASIST, the programme has been tailored for family members, co-workers and friends so that they can pick up the skills they need to recognise the signs if someone is at risk of suicide.

Mum-of-one Jessica told the Globe: "Families are the constant, and families are a support network.

"If we want to be able to identify those who are struggling the most within our communities and those who are at the most risk of suicide, then we need to be training families of individuals to spot the signs, to intervene and to safeguard them from suicide.”

In recent years there has been a rise in suicides and research has found more than half of all people who lost their lives to suicide in 2017 had received mental health support in the past.

Even more worryingly, 38% of all people who took their lives in Merseyside and Cheshire had a previous attempt on their record.

Due to the increase, waiting times to access mental health support have increased dramatically with people waiting up to 48 days before receiving a referral for talking therapies, counselling and emergency mental health services and up to two years for their first appointment.

Wirral Globe:

An image of Jess and her dad Martin on the wall at the centre in New Ferry

Waiting for a prolonged period for support can cause immense trauma and distress.

On Saturday, February 23, The Martin Gallier Project opened its doors at 57 New Chester Road and Wirral South MP Alison McGovern was on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Ms McGovern said: "We need to make sure that the National Health Service is there to support people’s mental health, in their hour of need.

"Gone are the days when problems with your mental health carried the stigma that it used to.

"I think that there’s still stigma going on, but I also believe that people are much more accepting now than they ever have been.

"Centres like these give people that space they need to heal.

"It means people have someone to talk to and be somewhere where they could be part of something, where they can go and get comfort.”

The Martin Gallier Project has joined forces with Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide to run several peer-led support groups to offer help to those bereaved by suicide and those struggling with their mental health.

From arts and crafts to crystal healing, each group will focus on individual self-care.

Wirral Globe:

The Martin Gallier Project at 57 New Chester Road

Members are also encouraged to start their own groups at the centre and through a retail facility, people can then sell their works to create revenues for themselves and the project.

The next workshop available to the public will take place on Thursday, April 11 and Friday, April 12.

In the meantime, Jessica and Claire are urging anyone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts to reach out and seek their support.

They said: "Speak to family, speak to friends, but if you cannot speak to them or you do not want to, we are always here - we are just a phone call away.

"If you’re not happy, if you are in a bad place, we are always here to help, no matter what.

"We deal with so many people who struggle with suicidal thoughts. For a lot of these people, their feelings may be temporary.

"The issues may not continue, there’s always another way out, and remember: the world would not be a better place without you.”

For more information about The Martin Gallier Project please visit https://www.gallierhouse.co.uk/

Anyone can contact Samaritans for FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. Other services available include the Papyrus Hopeline on 0800 068 4141, Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide on 0300 111 5065, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) on 0800 58 58 58, Mind on 0151 512 2200, NHS 111 or Wirral Pathfinders on 0151 334 2111.