A CAMPAIGN is under way to combat male suicide - after it emerged Lancashire’s rate was ranked the third highest in England.

NHS experts want to get the message out that it’s good to talk about mental health crises before it’s too late.

Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria’s awareness drive has come after research found 67 per cent of those taking their own lives were not known to mental health services.

Other figures show there were 1,800 suicide deaths between 2006 and 2016, across the same patch, with 76 per cent of these involving males.

Frontline staff who may come into contact with men at their lowest points, like GPs, the police, firefighters and teachers, are being asked to support the scheme.

Additional support is being offered to people who might already have been directly affected by suicide - to prevent bereavement resulting in further cases.

Vicki Wagstaff, a mental health lead for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “People who have been bereaved by suicide are at a greater risk of dying by suicide themselves. Ensuring support is easily accessible, appropriate and in one place is crucial to our work in prevention.

“We are encouraging people to share the details of the website with friends and colleagues and on social media to make as many people as possible aware of the help and support available.”

Health officials have established a website ­— healthierlsc.co.uk/suicide ­— containing a host of web links and practical support for those who may be affected.

Work on the assistance package has been completed by local people affected by suicide themselves.

The initiative has come as the government seeks to reduce suicide rates nationally by 10 per cent before 2021, through a raft of funding measures.

A focus on improving mental health in East Lancashire has started from the ground up. Last year the Al-Khair Foundation donated seven mental health wellbeing boxes to the ELHT&Me charity, for the A&E and urgent care units at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals. The boxes include cards, games and leaflets aimed at encouraging patients to open up about their problems with medics.