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Dumfriesshire mental health campaigner warns of cost of living crises leading to rise in suicides

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Dumfriesshire mental health campaigner Frank Ritchie is warning of a potential rise in suicides this winter brought on by the cost of living crisis.The 70-year-old from Lockerbie is encouraging anyone in “emotional torment” to “reach out and seek help” from a variety of agencies and he urges people across the region to keep an eye out for others who may be struggling.His message came on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day tomorrow.He said: “Many people in Dumfries and Galloway are looking to face a catastrophic winter of misery as they try to keep warm and feed themselves.“Issues of mental health and suicide are bound to escalate.“It is important that anyone feeling suicidal reaches out.

There are a number of charities that are there for them.”Frank’s “world collapsed” when his 31-year-old son, Alan, took his own life at Lockerbie Railway Station in 2015.The tragedy has spurred him on to campaign for more support for charities and those with mental health problems – lobbying councillors, MPs and MSPs, and the Scottish Parliament.And he has ensured that suicide awareness information posters are displayed in Annan and Dumfries Tesco stores with information about Suicide Bereavement Support Cumbria and South Scotland, and at local train stations via ScotRail.Frank is a keen ukulele “hummer and strummer” and he has used his skills to raise funds for a number of mental health charities.He urges anyone feeling low and suffering from mental health or suicidal thoughts to ring the Samaritans on freephone 116123 at any time, or Suicide Bereavement Support Cumbria and South Scotland helpline 07572 975 721 or 07896 703 757, or email: [email protected] also recommends the NHS website, Breathing Space, and websites by Headspace

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