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Sefton’s Public Health Director clears the air on pollution

Sefton’s Director of Public Health, Matthew Ashton, is delighted to release this year’s Public Health Annual Report (PHAR) which focus’s on the topic of air quality across the borough.

This year’s report takes the form of a short animation in order to better explain what air pollution is, where it comes from in Sefton and what happens when dirty air is breathed in. 

The PHAR also talks about what the Council and others are already doing to improve air quality with some recommendations about what should happen in the future.  The video can be viewed online at www.sefton.gov.uk/PHAR 

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Air pollution is a growing concern for many people who live in Sefton and the quality of the air we breathe is an issue that affects everyone.

“I am delighted that this topic was chosen as the theme for this year’s PHAR and I hope that it opens up a wider conversation about how we can all do more to protect our air.”

Matthew Ashton added: “In addition to bringing more transparency to the topic of air quality and how it affects the health and wellbeing of Sefton residents, this report is also my opportunity to recognise the work that Sefton Council has been doing to make Sefton’s air cleaner.

“Air quality is a topic that is becoming more and more important to people not only locally, but also at national level. We cannot make change happen alone and I echo my report when I call for more joined up action that will help people to breath cleaner air now and in the future.”

The PHAR and a short supplementary document can be viewed online at www.sefton.gov.uk/PHAR

Cheshire and Merseyside put suicide prevention at the forefront

On World Suicide Prevention Day  (Tuesday, 10 September) the Champs Public Health Collaborative and Samaritans hosted an event at Everton Football Club’s Goodison Park, in association with the club’s charitable arm Everton in the Community.

The event brought together a group of delegates made up of communications teams from hospitals, CCG’s and local authorities, media contacts and journalists, education staff and students to learn about the responsible reporting of suicide.

With figures for suicide in 2018 being released just last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that suicide numbers have increased in general across the UK since 2017, never has it been more necessary to raise awareness on suicide and ensure that it is being talked about in a responsible manner in order to prevent further deaths.

In Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M) suicide rates have in fact fallen since 2017, likely in part due to the ongoing work taking place across the sub-region, implementing the NO MORE Suicide Strategy, which aims for zero suicides.

It is as part of this strategy that the important event was organised, to continue to educate people, particularly those that may be in a position where they must report on suspected suicide.

The event was chaired by Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Elected member champion for suicide prevention in Cheshire & Merseyside (C&M). Cllr Gittins’ introduction was followed by a brief overview by Sue Forster, Director of Public Health (DPH), St Helens and DPH lead for Suicide Prevention, of the NO MORE Suicide Strategy in C&M and the aims for zero suicides throughout the area. She also highlighted the benefits of downloading and using the Stay Alive app, as a way to potentially mitigate suicidal crisis.

A key theme of the event was the media coverage of suspected suicide and how this can have both negative and positive effects on individuals and society. Renowned suicide prevention charity Samaritans delivered a workshop discussing best practice when it comes to reporting on or communicating suspected suicide.

This was followed by presentations from several organisations delivering men’s mental health programmes in the local area. Dave Scott from James’ Place presented on the recently established centre in central Liverpool, delivering interventions for men who are going through suicidal crisis through counselling for the individual and their family and friends.

Mike Salla, Phil Cooper and Professor Andy Smith spoke about how their organisations Everton in the Community, State of Mind and Edge Hill University are working together to deliver sport programmes for men which benefit their mental health.

The day concluded with a powerful and moving talk from former professional footballer Clarke Carlisle and his wife Carrie Carlisle, who spoke openly about their personal experience of suicidal crisis.

Clarke Carlisle knows all too well about how an individual comes to be in a position where they are considering taking their own life, and he shared his own experiences of this, discussing the stigma which is still very much attached to men’s mental health.

Carrie Carlisle then talked about how the experience affected her and their families, discussing the ways in which media can have both a negative and positive impact in the search for an individual who is known to be suicidal.

It is hoped that the event has opened attendees up to conversations about suicide and enabled them to feel more able to communicate about the subject in a responsible manner, consequently ensuring that further lives are not lost.

If you are having thoughts about suicide – speak to Samaritans 24/7 on 116 123 (free) or www.samaritans.org

Pocket-sized suicide prevention resource could help save lives in Sefton

sefton in mindSefton residents are encouraged to download innovative app helping to save people from suicide for World Suicide Prevention Day.

To mark the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s (IASP) World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday, 10 September, residents of Sefton are being encouraged to download an innovative app that could help to save the life of someone in suicidal crisis.

Across the UK around 6,000 people die by suicide each year. Every suicide has a huge impact on the people affected by it, with enormous emotional and social implications. This year’s theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Working Together’, an apt reminder that by asking someone if they need help you could save a life.

The Stay Alive app, which was developed by charity Grassroots, is a pocket-sized suicide prevention resource which gives people the tools to do just this – start a conversation about mental health. The app is designed to help both those who are having suicidal thoughts and those who are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.

As part of the Cheshire & Merseyside wide NO MORE Suicide strategy, a localised version of the app has been developed with appropriate signposting to organisations within the nine local authorities across the sub-region.  

The app has several key features including:

  • Finding help from local crisis services in the Cheshire & Merseyside area
  • Quick access to UK national crisis support helplines
  • A safety plan that can be filled out and used if a person is in a crisis and needs to keep safe
  • A LifeBox to which the user can upload photos from their phone reminding them of their reasons to stay alive
  • Strategies for staying safe from suicide
  • How to help a person thinking about suicide
  • Suicide myth-busting
  • Research-based reasons for living
  • Suicide bereavement resources

The Stay Alive app is free and available to download for iOS and Android devices.

Councillor Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Our aim as part of the NO MORE Suicide strategy is to eliminate suicide completely. The Stay Alive app will be a key resource in delivering this vision, and I believe that it really could help to save lives from suicide. I would urge everyone to download the app so that in the unfortunate circumstance that you encounter someone who needs help, the app is ready and waiting to assist you.”

Local residents are also being encouraged to keep an eye out for and attend 30 days of activities and events to support good mental health that are taking place from World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) to World Mental Health Day (10 October), follow @SeftonCouncil on Twitter to keep up to date with the campaign.

 

Help keep your heart happy in Sefton this Know Your Numbers Week

Health experts in Sefton are urging local residents to find out if their heart is happy and get their blood pressure checked for free as part of Know Your Numbers! Week (September 9-15).

Shockingly, 30,000 people in Sefton have high blood pressure and don’t know, this puts them a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and dementia.

Professional’s from Sefton Council, Living Well Sefton (LWS), NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG are working together to encourage residents to know their numbers and help prevent heart attacks or a stroke so that they can live healthier for longer.

Throughout Know Your Numbers! Week, Living Well Sefton will be offering free blood pressure checks at the following locations:

  • Smokefree Sefton, Bootle Strand – Monday, 9 September, 10am-12pm
  • Southport Community Centre – Tuesday, 10 September, 10am-12pm
  • Feel Good Factory, Netherton – Wednesday, 11 September, 10am-12pm
  • Sefton Opera, Bootle – Wednesday, 11 September, 1pm-2.30pm 
  • Parenting 2000, Mornington Road, Southport – Thursday, 12 September, 2pm-4pm
  • Strand by Me, Bootle Strand, – Friday, 13 September, 10am-12pm

Living Well Sefton will also be offering mini health checks, including a blood pressure test, at Strand by Me in Bootle, Thursday, 12 September, 10am-12pm.

Many key risk factors for developing high blood pressure are largely lifestyle-related such as eating too much salt, not enough fruit and vegetables, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol and not taking enough exercise. High blood pressure is also more likely in older people, if it runs in your family and if you are of African, Caribbean or South-Asian descent.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “It is so important to keep on top of your health and so I am urging Sefton residents to take this opportunity to get your blood pressure checked for free.

“High blood pressure is a largely preventable and treatable condition but contributes to the leading causes of death. Having your blood pressure checked is an important step to knowing and reducing your risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure.”

Karen Nolan, Living Well Sefton programme manager, added: “We are happy to be part of Know Your Numbers! Week and can support local people to make minor lifestyle changes that can make a big difference to their blood pressure.

“The Know Your Numbers campaign is a great way to raise awareness of keeping track of your blood pressure but we want to let residents know Living Well can offer support all year round.”

Brendan Prescott, deputy chief nurse at NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Many pharmacies across Sefton will provide information and advice on simple steps to keep blood pressure under control and some will measure your blood pressure accurately.

“A blood pressure check is quick, free, painless and could save your life. You can also have a free blood pressure check in your GP surgery or use an appropriate and recommended home testing machine.”

To find your nearest pressure station online visit: www.happy-hearts.co.uk 

Sefton residents invited to health commissioners’ meetings

Health commissioners in Sefton are inviting local residents with an interest in their work to come along to their next governing body meetings.

NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS South Sefton CCG hold their bi-monthly governing body meetings in public, so that people can listen to the discussions and the decision making processes of the doctors, nurses and other health professionals that make up these forums. 

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “As always, members of the public are encouraged to attend our governing body meetings. At these meetings you will be able to listen to us make decisions and will learn about the developments happening in the area.”

Dr Craig Gillespie, local GP and chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “Attending one of our governing body meetings is a good way to find out about the work that’s been happening in Sefton over the past couple of months and to learn about our plans for the future.

“The decisions we make at these meetings have an impact on the whole community, that’s why everyone is encouraged to attend.”

NHS Southport and Formby CCG’s governing body meeting will take place on Wednesday 4 September at the Family Life Centre, Ash St, Southport, Merseyside at 1pm. Papers will be made available here beforehand.  

NHS South Sefton CCG’s governing body meeting will take place on Thursday 5 September at Merton House, Stanley Road in Bootle at 1pm. Papers will be made available here beforehand. 

Attendees have the chance to ask questions shortly before the meeting formally starts. To confirm attendance or for more information please call 0151 317 8456. 

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