Friday, September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, and Somerset County Council is encouraging everyone to be aware of the role they can play in preventing suicide.
One in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide. It can affect every one of us. The Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly tough and for many has contributed to increased feelings of isolation and vulnerability.
That is why promoting World Suicide Prevention Day and this year’s theme – “Creating Hope through Action” – is so important.
Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health said: “World Suicide Prevention Day is a day to raise awareness of how we can help each other and reduce the stigma that surrounds talking about suicide.
“In these challenging times we need to be kind to each other, and remember that our actions, no matter how big or small, could provide hope to someone who is struggling.
“It is okay not to be okay. If you are struggling, do not be afraid to talk through what you are feeling with someone you trust, and remember there are lots of organisations that can offer support too.”
The Samaritans charity is currently running a campaign called Small Talk Saves Lives, which encourages people to trust their instincts and start a conversation if they feel someone might need help.
Even a simple question like asking for the time can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts and help set them on the journey to recovery.
The Council is part of an active partnership of 20 different statutory and voluntary organisations that form the Suicide Prevention Partnership Board.
Together members are encouraging people to take a free online awareness training course, Suicide Let’s Talk, which is available here. The training takes about 30 minutes and is suitable for anyone in Somerset who has an interest in learning about suicide prevention.
The session includes facts about suicide and provides useful advice and guidance on how to understand the signs that somebody may be at risk, and how to talk comfortably and directly about suicide.
On September 10, there will be a ‘Say Their Name’ Remembrance Service at St Mary’s Church in Bridgwater between 6.30pm and 8.30pm for anyone that has lost someone who has taken their own life. Attendees will be able to light a candle in memory of the person they are missing.
Andrew Keefe, Chair of the Somerset Suicide Prevention Partnership and Deputy Director of Commissioning for Mental Health, Autism, & Learning Disabilities for Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Every conversation with a person in need, every time you have reached out to someone, and gone the extra mile, and asked how they are for a second time, is a moment that, coupled with all those other interactions, may well have prevented a suicide. This should give us hope and encouragement to keep on with the work we are all doing as it is having an impact – we just don’t always see it.
“The theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is creating hope through action. I would like to encourage you to keep focusing more on the word prevention and less on the word suicide as small talk saves lives.”
There are a number of organisations in Somerset that specialise in support related to suicide and mental health:
- Somerset Mindline’s helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is for anyone of any age in Somerset who is experiencing mental distress or wanting emotional support. Call 01823 276 892 or 0800 138 1692.
- The Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service is available for anyone who has been bereaved or affected by suicide. Call 0300 330 5463.
- The Farming Community Network is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. Visit www.fcn.org.uk, or call 01934 712128.
- The Samaritans are available to listen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call free on 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258.
- If you work or volunteer in health and care in Somerset and need to talk, the Somerset Emotional Wellbeing Resilience Hub is there for you. Please call the dedicated, confidential Colleague Support Line for help with a trained professional on 0300 124 5595 or visit www.somersetemotionalwellbeing.org to discover all the support options that are open to you.
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