BRIERLEY Hill Samaritans are backing a campaign to encourage men to talk about their problems as part of efforts to help reduce deaths from suicide.

A survey by Samaritans found that two in five (41 per cent) men in England, Scotland and Wales aged 20 to 59 do not seek support when they need to - because they prefer to solve their problems themselves.

And new figures released by NHS Digital show for every 100,000 men in Dudley and Sandwell areas 22 men aged between 35 and 64 took their own lives between 2015-17, whereas the suicide rate for women in the same age category was considerably lower at five in every 100,000 in both areas.

While figures for younger men, aged 15 to 34, show there were 13 male suicides for every 100,000 people in Dudley and 15 in Sandwell – whereas there were just two female deaths from suicide per 100,000 in Dudley during the same time period and five in Sandwell.

Maggie Palowski, director of the Brierley Hill branch in Albion Street, said: “We know men can sometimes find it really hard to admit they are having trouble coping and reluctant to seek help, and we want to say that at Brierley Hill branch we do our best to make it easy to get in touch with Samaritans and talk to a volunteer. We are here to take calls 24/7 free on 116 123.”

The branch is supporting the national Samaritans’ Real People Real Stories campaign, backed by Network Rail, which aims to encourage men to seek help by sharing the stories of those who have successfully done so.

Ex-Premier League footballer and professional boxer, Leon McKenzie, is among those backing the campaign in a bid to encourage men to seek help early on.

Maggie said debt, relationship breakdowns and addiction are among the main pressures reported by those who seek help but she said: “People are not getting medical support because of cutbacks. GPs will often give out our number if they can’t get hold of their crisis team.”

For more information about Brierley Hill Samaritans, or to volunteer, donate or fundraise, email

Maggie said: “We’re always in need of volunteers. It’s quite a demanding role but it’s very worthwhile.”

Information and support for anyone struggling to cope can be found at

Help and advice for anyone affected by or thinking about suicide can also be found on website which was launched by Dudley Council in December as part of a borough-wide ‘reach out’ suicide awareness campaign to improve awareness, provide support and encourage those affected by suicide to speak up.

Health chiefs in Dudley are also running a five-year suicide prevention plan which aims to improve training for staff, raise awareness and target high risk groups to offer more support and guidance to achieve an overall aim of zero suicides in the borough by 2023. Nurture programmes in primary schools and the funding of community programmes to help people keep active, learn, connect with others and to give back are among efforts by the council to help people in the borough to stay mentally well.

And earlier this month, on March 22, 200 health and care staff from organisations across the region, including Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, met to develop a joined-up plan to prevent suicide across the Black Country and West Birmingham.

Dr Mark Weaver, medical director at the trust, said: “Suicide has a devastating and enduring impact on families and communities. This is why health and care services in the Black Country and West Birmingham must work together to raise awareness amongst staff, as well as people working in the wider system to develop a joined-up approach to suicide prevention.

“The event was an important opportunity for all staff and partners to agree priorities for how we can collectively tackle stigma and isolation, improve the quality of mental health support and provide better access to employment, housing and benefits, as well as ensuring there are safe non-judgemental places in the community where people can receive compassion and support.”