Publish date: 6 September 2022
Local healthcare leaders are urging people to take action this World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September) and create hope for someone struggling with their mental health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 800,000 people take their own life each year – that’s around 1 person, every 40 seconds. In the UK, that’s more than 6,800 a year.
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) is challenging the stigma around suicide by raising awareness of how to support a person who may be at risk. Alongside this year’s theme of creating hope through action, AWP is encouraging as many people as possible to complete a free online course on suicide awareness.
The 20-minute course, run by Zero Suicide Alliance, is designed to help people understand more about suicide, such as identifying suicide warning signs and developing techniques on how to communicate with someone at risk. The course is suitable for anyone aged 16 and over who can learn how to have a potentially life-saving conversation.
AWP is also recommending people to download StayAlive, a free app available for both Android and iOS mobile devices. This suicide prevention resource is full of useful information and tools to help someone stay safe in crisis.
Adrian Childs, Director of Nursing at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust, said: “We recognise that suicide prevention and awareness raising efforts should not just be limited to one day, but must be a continuous effort every day. Raising awareness of suicide not only helps to reduce the stigma associated around this sensitive subject, but it also encourages well-informed action which can reduce instances of suicide.
“By taking action, we are sending positive messages to people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts that we care and that we want to support them. By simply gaining a better understanding of how to spot the warning signs when someone is at risk, this small step can make a huge difference by providing hope to those who are struggling.”
21-year old student, Mollie, who has completed the free suicide awareness course, commented: “Just 20 minutes of training has given me the confidence to know how to help a friend or family member who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide. The course has taught me that suicide is preventable and I now know that I should not be afraid to have a conversation with someone who I feel is behaving out of the ordinary.”