Despite significant efforts, suicide rates in Cumbria remain above the national average.

Now a conference is taking place in the county aiming to address some of the key issues surrounding suicide.

The event, taking place in Penrith tomorrow, aims to give insight into prevention techniques taking place across the UK.

The Suicide Prevention: New Frontiers conference will help frontline staff to understand the latest research into suicide prevention, influencing practice in individual healthcare settings.

In Cumbria, on average, one person dies each week as a result of suicide - accounting for about 50 per year.

Rates of suicide in males are more than three times higher than in females in Cumbria, while nationally those aged 45 to 49 years are most at risk. Suicide in England remains one of the leading causes of premature death.

Organised by the Academic Health Science Network for North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), in conjunction with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the event aims to address these worrying figures by new ways of practice.

Over 200 healthcare professionals are expected to attend Penrith’s Rheged Centre for the conference.

Keynote speakers will be Dr Olivia Kirtley, of the University of Ghent in

Belgium, Professor Rory O’Connor, from the University of Glasgow, and Professor Ellen Townsend, from the University of Nottingham.

Dr Richard Thwaites is consultant clinical psychologist at the Cumbria Partnership trust, which runs mental health services. He said: "In Cumbria we have suicide rates higher than national average so it is vitally important that we look at ways in which the healthcare community and the wider community can work together to reduce this."

Elaine Readhead, mental health programme manager at the AHSN NENC, said: "Circumstances surrounding suicide are often complex and there isn’t just one risk or attributable factor. This is why it is seen locally as a priority for focused action."

For more information or to register visit