A YOUNG woman who lost a friend to suicide and set up her own mental health charity is urging people to reach out for support.

Up to 15 people are lost to suicide in Trafford every year and now an appeal has been launched to get support as part of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Lauren Barclay, 22, who lived in Sale before moving to Salford this month, suffered with her own mental health before reaching out for support when she was younger.

She said: “Personally I had never had any education of mental health so when I started to struggle I wasn’t sure of the best thing or right thing to do. At the time I was in secondary school and a lot of my friends were struggling with different things too.

“I actually went to a teacher to talk about my cousin who was struggling and it was through this conversation that I was able to then get support.

“I think talking has such a huge stigma attached to it as mental health is seen as this big scary thing when in reality most of us will struggle with it at some point in our lives and it should be easy to reach out and ask for that little bit of help.”

Lauren has set up Youth Mental Health Matters, as ‘it doesn’t take a degree in medicine or psychology to help someone’. Uncertainty, job losses and isolation in 2020 has placed more people under more pressure than ever.

Lauren said: “The pandemic is making things harder for everyone in one way or another. I think here it is important to remember that no one can know exactly what someone else is going through, and being open and supportive to people is so important.

Cllr Jo Harding, Trafford suicide prevention board chair, said: “There is a myth that talking about suicide may give someone the idea. The fact is you do not give someone suicidal ideas by talking about suicide, instead by talking openly and honestly you could possibly save a life."