From Hugh Street, director of Isle of Wight Samaritans:

The Isle of Wight Samaritans would like to congratulate the County Press for casting a searchlight on the Island’s suicide-reduction initiative.

Samaritans have been working to reduce deaths by suicide in the UK for over 60 years, and our efforts continue to bring results.

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In 2018, the IW branch took 10,215 calls from people all over the country, in distress, despair or with suicidal thoughts and worked to support them and, in many cases, help them get through particularly difficult and stressful situations.

This is only a small part of the over five million calls Samaritan branches take nationally every year.

It is estimated every death by suicide affects an average of 20 people. The grief and pain suffered by families and friends of the person is unquantifiable. Just the economic cost alone is approximately £1,700,00 for each working adult who dies by suicide.

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Fortunately suicide figures are falling nationally through the efforts of many people and organisations all working with the shared aim of reducing deaths by suicide. There was a reduction of 2.9 per cent in 2017.

So there is hope. Since the evidence shows our work, and that of others, is being effective in reducing numbers of deaths, we can draw the important conclusion suicide is preventable.

In Merseyside, the local NHS foundation trust launched a zero suicide policy three years ago. It’s an ambitious but worthwhile aim.

How would it be if the IW adopted a zero suicide policy and committed to preventing all suicides on our Island?

We all have a part to play in helping reduce the dreadful waste and pain suicide causes throughout society.

IW Samaritans are working locally to improve awareness of the risk of suicide and what we can all do to help those in distress.

Readers may have seen our feature in County Press on the fourth Friday of every month.

It includes ways of contacting us by free phone (116123), e-mail or text.

Read more: Suicide investigation: "The darkness overwhelmed me" — two people share their stories

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