Pressure is being put on Pembrokeshire County Council to examine ways of reducing the number of suicides off Cleddau Bridge following reports that suicide rates have reached their highest level for two decades.

The problem is being exacerbated by the fact that an increasing number of young people are struggling to find adequate support from their mental health crisis teams.

“A significant proportion of people who take their own lives have asked for support for their mental health within the last 12 months,” commented Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at the charity Mind.

"But no one who is in touch with the mental health services or who is asking for help, should reach the point of taking their own life.

“If they are, then it means that our services are failing people when they need help them the most.”

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Vicki Nash’s concerns have been endorsed by former paramedic officer and Neyland town councillor Steve Thomas, who is now urging Pembrokeshire County Council to implement a Suicide Prevention Project at Cleddau Bridge.

“Cleddau Bridge has been used historically for so many years by people who are either attempting to take their own lives or who die as a result of suicide,” he said.

“I raised my concerns very recently after the emergency services were asked to attend to a person who had yet again jumped from the bridge and the problem isn’t going to go away.”

Cllr Thomas is now requesting improved signage containing the Samaritans’ helpline contact details to be positioned in prominent locations along the Cleddau Bridge as well as CCTV footage covering the bridge’s entire length.

He is also requesting that the redundant toll booth offices on the Pembroke Dock side can be utilised for the Suicide Prevention Project.

It is hoped that both Neyland and Pembroke Dock Town Councils and Burton Community Council will work collectively towards establishing the project.

2020 saw the highest rise in male suicides in Wales and England for over two decades, with a total of 285 deaths.

Of those, 225 were male and 60 were female. A large percentage were young people whose background issues included substance misuse, bullying, parental separation, domestic violence, neglect and physical and sexual abuse.

Meanwhile Labour MS Lyn Neagle, who chairs the Senedd's cross party group on suicide prevention, says suicide prevention initiatives such as the Cleddau Bridge project, must be seized with both hands.

“Nothing is more important than preventing young people dying by suicide," she said. "I believe it is nothing short of a public health emergency.

"The clear opportunities for suicide prevention need to be seized with vigour, determination and urgency.”