10 September 2018

World Suicide Prevention Day 2018


Don't suffer in silence. That's the message from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) on World Suicide Prevention Day.

World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day and takes place on 10th September every year. It aims to ensure worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides.

In 2017 there were 5,821 suicides registered in the UK, with males accounting for three quarters of suicides (4,382). Suicide rates were highest for males aged between 45 and 49 years old and for females aged 50 to 54 years old.

Through its Suicide Prevention Strategy, AWP aims to mirror the national target set by the Department of Health to reduce the number of suicides by 10% by 2020.

On World Suicide Prevention Day AWP is reminding people that there is always help and support available and if you have suicidal thoughts you should talk to someone as this can help.

Director of Nursing for AWP, Julie Kerry, said: "Suicide is devastating for all those involved so it is important that we highlight the help and support available to anyone who may be having suicidal thoughts and to anyone worried about a friend or family who may be going through a difficult time. Confiding in others is probably the single most important thing to do so we would urge people to talk about their feelings.

"We would also encourage everyone to take part in the Zero Suicide Alliance's 20 minute online training course to help recognise the warning signs.

"AWP takes suicide prevention very seriously and we work closely with other health agencies and public health specialists and research teams to find ways to reduce the risk of suicide. We have a suicide prevention strategy which sets out our work in this area between now and 2020."

The Zero Suicide Alliance provides a free 20 minute online training package, which is open to everyone. The course offers guidance on how to spot the warning signs and advice on how to be supportive and how to signpost an individual to the correct services or support. To access the training visit https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/

Common myths about suicide:

• Myth: You have to be mentally ill to think about suicide.
Fact: Around one in five adults say they have thoughts about suicide at some point. Suicidal thoughts can range from feeling that life isn't worth living anymore, to seriously considering taking your own life. Not all people who die by suicide have mental health issues. Two in three suicides are by people who are not under mental health care.
• Myth: People who threaten suicide are just seeking attention.
Fact: People who say they want to die should always be taken seriously. It may well be that they want attention in the sense of calling out for help and giving them this attention may save their life.
• Myth: Once a person has made a serious suicide attempt, that person is unlikely to make another.
Fact: People with a history of attempting suicide are at an increased risk of dying by suicide. If someone has made an attempt on their life, it is essential they are given appropriate support and help.
• Myth: Talking about suicide is bad as it may give someone the idea to try it.
Fact: People who have felt suicidal often say what a huge relief it was to be able to talk about what they were experiencing. Talking about suicidal feelings in an honest and non-judgmental way can help break down the stigma associated with it, meaning people are more likely to seek help and open up about how they feel. Talking about suicide will not put the idea in someone's mind, but will help make the topic less taboo.
• Myth: If a person is seriously thinking about taking their own life then there is nothing you can do about it.
Fact: Suicide is not inevitable - all suicides are potentially preventable. Many people who have had suicidal thoughts do not go on to end their life. The most important thing is to assist them to get the help they need.
• Myth: Most suicides happen in the winter months.
Fact: Suicide rates peak in spring but suicidal thoughts, feelings and behaviour may happen to anyone at any time.
The AWP website contains details of a number of organisations and support services, some of which are open around the clock. For more details, visit www.awp.nhs.uk and click on the advice and support section.

Alternatively, you can contact the Samaritans by telephoning 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org or Papyrus by telephoning 0800 068 41 41 or by emailing pat@papyrus-uk.org

Alternatively, you can contact the Samaritans by telephoning 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org or Papyrus by telephoning 0800 068 41 41 or by emailing pat@papyrus-uk.org


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