PEOPLE who may be at risk of suicide are being encouraged to use a new 'Stay Alive' app as concerns have been raised about increasing suicide levels in the city.

City of York Council, which is part of an action group looking to address the issue, is promoting the use of the app for people with thoughts of suicide and those who are concerned about someone else.

Recent figures show that 30 people in York died from suicide in 2013, nearly three times the number in 2012. The free "Stay Alive" app includes quick access to national crisis support helplines, a mini safety plan that can be completed by a person considering suicide and a "LifeBox" to which the user can upload photos from their phone reminding them of their reasons to stay alive, City of York Council said.

A so-called suicide audit is currently being carried out alongside coroners in York and North Yorkshire to examine each incident and to look at the links between self harm and suicide in order to put forward a plan to reduce risk in the area.

Cllr Carol Runciman, the executive member for health, said: “Suicide devastates the lives of individuals, families and communities.

"Suicide affects all age groups; young and old alike and we can all play a part to help prevent suicides. It’s important to remember that suicide is not inevitable for anyone.”

Other uses of the app include how to help a person thinking about suicide and suicide bereavement resources.

In England someone dies by suicide every two hours and while the long term national trend has been downwards, this reduction has halted and the number of people dying by suicide each year in York has been increasing in more recent years.

Last year The Press reported how levels of male suicide in York between 2002 and 2013 were the fourth highest in the country.

To download the Stay Alive app search “Stay Alive” on the App Store or Google Play.

Other sources of support are available for people with thoughts of suicide and for people concerned about someone else: • Ring 111 to access mental health services – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

• Contact your doctor. If you do not have a GP or do not know your GP's telephone number contact 111.

• Phone the Samaritans 24 hour helpline on 08457 90 90 90 for confidential non-judgmental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide.