There were 95 suicides recorded in Hertfordshire last year, but the council hopes to get to a point where no one in the county feels the need to end their own life.

Hertfordshire county councillors met last Monday (October 14) to scrutinise the county's suicide prevention strategy.

They heard the number of recorded suicides in Hertfordshire in 2018 was statistically low compared to other counties but pledged to do more to reduce the number.

Estimates suggest each suicide impacts on 135 people and has an economic cost of £1.7million.

Mr McManus said the ambition in Hertfordshire was to get to a point where no one felt they had to take their life through suicide.

And he said good suicide prevention needed to sit alongside a population approach to good mental health – with multiple agencies working together.

“No one agency can deliver this on their own,” he said. “We recognise we have made some progress, there’s more still to be done in this area.”

The meeting was told that men were most likely to take their own lives in Hertfordshire, with suicide rates highest in men and women aged between 45 and 49.

One in four of those who took their lives had discussed their mental health with a member of their GP practice in the four weeks before their death.

Mr McManus pointed to the ‘gap’ that remains in primary care, in signposting people through to mental health services.

But Dr Anna Benson, GP clinical lead for mental health for Herts Valleys CCG, said that often those determined to kill themselves would not talk about it with the GP – and that they needed to look for non-verbal cues.

She highlighted the recent addition of community mental health workers at GP surgeries, new services, training and collaborative working with voluntary agencies, hospitals and public health, as part of the ongoing work to prevent suicide.

Councillors also heard that with so many railway lines in the county, the proportion of people ending their lives there is relatively high. They heard from Network Rail and British Transport Police about the measures designed to keep people safe.

They include additional barriers along fast tracks, smart cameras, staff training and even changing waiting rooms so they don’t face towards fast through-train platforms.