NEW government figures show the North West second-highest suicide rate in the United Kingdom for the second year running.

The Office of National Statistics analysis shows 494 people in the region took their own lives in the first three quarters of 2019.

This is nearly 13 per of the UK's total suicide rate and an increase from 2018.

Former NHS worker and Liberal Democrat Euro-MP for the North West Jane Brophy said:"Mental health must be taken seriously if we are to tackle the suicide crisis in the North. But while the Government is fixated with pushing their hard Brexit message, crises like this go ignored, and real families are left to pick up the shattered pieces.

"The Liberal Democrats have a clear plan to push back against this crisis, and we're honest about how we'll pay for it. We will add one penny on the pound in income tax to finally put an end to devastating statistics like this.

"We will publish a National Wellbeing Strategy, with a specific minister whose responsibility is to put better health and wellbeing for everyone at the heart of government."