A PLAN to help tackle mental health issues across the county could take a major step forward this week.

The Mental Well-being and Suicide Prevention Plan is to be put forward for approval at Worcestershire County Council's health and well-being board meeting on Wednesday.

Positive mental health and suicide prevention is one of the council's four priorities for the well-being of the county.

No other condition matches mental illness in the combined extent of prevalence, persistence and breadth of impact. Nearly 70,000 adults and about 7,600 children in Worcestershire are experiencing mental ill health at any time and about 50 people each year take their own life.

The plan was put to the board in draft form last September on World Suicide Prevention Day. Since then there has been further consultation on the plan at community events and via surveys sent to partners in statutory, voluntary, and community organisations and individuals with a remit or interest in mental well-being.

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for health and well-being for Worcestershire County Council, said: "The risks of suicide can be reduced by promoting mental well-being, and by reducing the stigma that so often is felt to surround mental illness.

"Around one in four adults will have mental health problems in their adult life, so it is a very common issue, for which there is a lot of help available. We want to make sure that people in Worcestershire feel able to talk about mental illness and are able to access help readily when they need it. Nobody should feel ashamed of mental illness.

"Together with our partners, we want to build mental resilience and mental well-being and reduce the risk of people taking their own lives. Worcestershire's suicide rate is largely in line with the national average and is stable. Nevertheless, about 50 people commit suicide in Worcestershire each year and each case is tragic with devastating effects for families and communities."

The health and well-being board will meet at 2pm on Wednesday at Council Chamber, County Hall, Worcester.