William urges men to 'talk about issues' to combat suicide rates

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The Duke of Cambridge has said he wants men to stop "feeling so strong" and talk about their issues, in a bid to tackle "staggering" male suicide rates.

William was speaking at a meeting in London with representatives from National Rail, the RNLI, British Transport Police, the Chief Fire Officers Association, the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and the Samaritans.

They were brought together by the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) for their  first meeting at Unilever House.

The coalition of emergency and transport services aims to pull together the expertise of those who deal, on a daily basis, with male suicide.

William said he became involved because of his interest in the subject as supporter of mental health campaigns, and because of his experiences as an air ambulance pilot.

He said it was "fantastic" they were trying to "bring the issue to the surface" and to "do something" about male suicide rates.

"I want to try and help you guys elevate the issue that you deal with to another level if we can," he said.

"And get, particularly on the male side, more men talking about it."

With suicide as the biggest killer of males under the age of 45, William said he was "staggered" by the statistics.

"In some of my charity work I have come across issues like this before, and coupled with my air ambulance work where my first job was a male suicide, I realised starkly how big a problem we have in this country," he said.

"It was really close to me on that first day and one of the guys told me on average there are five attempted suicides a day."

William said that at that point he had not really heard about the issue, even though he is "fairly tuned in to" his charity work.

"We need to do something about it," he told the meeting.

"Get more men talking about their issues before it is too late and to stop feeling so strong and unable to seek help.

"Because it can destroy families, it can destroy lives."

The coalition aims to develop a resource aimed at equipping all men with an understanding of how to identify and support other men who are down, depressed or suicidal.

Males currently account for 76% of all suicides.

Each year more than 2,500 rail workers deal with the aftermath of suicides, while a further 1,100 actively prevent them.

The fire and rescue services attend 1,500 suicide incidents a year, with a far greater figure for ambulance service members who attend the majority of suspected suicide incidents.