MORE than 350 people have undergone potentially life-saving training to help identify those who may be at risk of suicide.

Wirral's Public Health team have now released a video highlighting the training to mark World Suicide Prevention Day today (Tuesday, September 10).

Known as 'Gatekeeper' training, the programme looks to develop individuals knowledge, understanding and attitudes about mental health while identifying those at risk of suicide and make referrals to support services when necessary.

Around 364 health professionals, care workers and community volunteers from 49 organisations across the borough have undergone training.

The training is part of a region-wide initiative by Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Collaborative.

Cabinet member for adult care and health, councillor Chris Jones told the Globe: "Organisations receiving this training have included schools, universities, housing groups, charities and churches, among others.

“The fact that residents can go to a library or a one stop shop, and know that the staff or volunteers there have chosen to equip themselves to better support each other and the community in relation to suicide and mental health is something to be proud of.

“The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is ‘working together’, a theme which I feel is perfectly apt for the training being taken up across Wirral.

“Initiatives, such as the Gatekeeper training, can help to bring into the light a subject which many people deal with alone or think of as ‘taboo’.

"We can work together to support people dealing with suicide, intrusive thoughts or life after bereavement by suicide.”

The video released on Tuesday, produced by Wirral Council, includes interviews from staff members and volunteers from Wirral organisations including Healthwatch Wirral, Spider Project, Age UK Wirral and Forum Housing.

Wendy Kay, one of the suicide prevention trainers, said: “A big part of the training was building confidence in people, to talk about suicide and mental health.

"Quite often, even beginning the conversation with somebody can feel really difficult.

“Lots of the people we have trained have said a key part of building their confidence around this subject was the realisation that talking to somebody, sensitively and with an open mind, about mental health is usually a positive thing.

“Reaching out to show somebody that someone is interested in them and that they’re cared for can be helpful and worthwhile.

“This is about spreading the message that across Wirral, there are people out there, organisations and community groups, who want to help if you’re feeling low.

“In addition to the hundreds who have received this training, there are even greater numbers of people who will care and will want to help somebody, who is reaching out for support.”

The training is ongoing and there are around another 220 people set to receive it in the borough.

Help and support is available for anyone who needs it. 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.