07 September 2020

We all have a role to play in preventing suicide, says mental health trust

Reaching out to start a conversation or checking in with someone you're worried about could be all it takes to help someone who is thinking about taking their own life. 

On World Suicide Prevention Day (Thursday 10th September) Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust is encouraging people to talk openly about their feelings and emotions and start a conversation with someone. This may be talking to someone you are worried about or reaching out to someone to talk about how you are feeling.

Julie Kerry, Director of Nursing and Quality at AWP, said: "When someone takes their own life it is devastating with family members, friends, health professionals and the wider community all affected. World Suicide Prevention Day is an important event, where we can come together to take the opportunity to raise awareness and understanding to help prevent suicide. We can all play our part by reaching out to those we care about to start a conversation. By having open conversations about mental health and suicidal thoughts, it can reduce stigma and saves lives."    

Statistics show that around 70% of people who take their own life will not have tried to access any kind of mental health support. The International Association for Suicide Prevention's Step Closer film has been developed to encourage collective action and to highlight that through working together we can all prevent suicide. AWP is encouraging everyone to find out how to play their part by viewing the film here

AWP's Suicide Prevention Lead, Anthony Harrison, said: "Often the opportunity to talk about how we are feeling and to know someone is listening without judgement can be just what is needed to help someone struggling with their mental health. This year has been particularly difficult for everyone and we know people may be struggling with how they are feeling, so we want to encourage people to get the help and support they need as early as possible. If you don't feel comfortable talking to someone you know about how you are feeling there is lots of confidential support, help and information available."  

Advice from AWP
It's important you talk to someone. There are lots of people who can help. In the first instance try talking to a family member or friend about how you are feeling and how you can access help and support. You can also talk to your GP, who will be able to assess your situation and refer you to the right organisation for help.

If you are an existing AWP patient, contact the team outlined in your care plan or the Intensive Support Team identified to help you.

If you are in crisis, or concerned about someone who is in immediate danger, contact the emergency services on 999.

Anthony continued: "If you are experiencing low mood and anxiety for the first time, there is lots of help and support you can access online or through voluntary organisations. If you've tried this and still feel you need help, you can contact NHS 111, your GP or you can self-refer to talking therapies services. If you are already under our care you can speak to your care co-ordinator about accessing any additional help you need.  

"For parents, carers or friends who may be worried about someone else, try and encourage them to talk to you about their feelings and encourage them to seek support. Just talking through their worries may help them think more clearly and help them to access help."

Support and help available

The below helplines can provide someone to talk to:

Samaritans - call 116 123 or email jo@smaritans.org

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) for men - call 0800 58 58 58 5pm to midnight

Papyrus - for people under 35 - call 0800 068 41 41 10am-10pm Monday to Friday, 2pm-10pm weekends, 2pm-5pm bank holidays, email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Childline - for children and young people under 19 - call 0800 1111

The Silver Line - for older people - call 0800 4 70 80 90

General advice about emotional wellbeing

Excellent general resources for people to become more engaged with their mental wellbeing can be found here

The following resources have been developed in response to the impact of the pandemic, lockdown and social distancing:

You can access the How Are You? interactive quiz here 

The MIND resources on mental health and coronavirus can be found here 

Samaritans resources can be accessed here 

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