World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on 10 September and every year organisations and communities around the world come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide.
I know that this is a difficult subject to talk about for some but for that very reason, we must raise awareness of the difficulties people are facing and to provide reassurance that there is hope and there is support available for all who need it.
Every 90 minutes, a life is sadly lost to suicide in the UK. It is something that touches the lives of every corner of society and like the coronavirus, it does not discriminate. Figures for 2019 show the highest rate of suicides since 2000, with men three times more likely than women to take their own life. Worryingly, rates in Yorkshire and the Humber are the highest in the country for both men and women.
I am passionate about promoting good mental health and so want to take this opportunity to raise awareness about the help and support available for everyone.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and there are many positive things we can do to stay as physically and mentally well as possible. Take time for yourself every day. A walk in the garden listening to the birds or a cup of tea whilst talking to a friend on line can really boost your mood. The simplest things can sometimes be the best. So please reach out and be kind to yourself and others.
If you have become stressed, anxious or worried about your mood or mental health, please don’t worry alone or feel that you can’t cope. Please seek help early. There is plenty of advice and information at our fingertips and there is professional help available in Doncaster to ensure you get the support you need.
I particularly want to encourage men to open up, particularly as men are more at risk. We often find it difficult to talk about how we are feeling but it’s so important to talk about the issues we are facing or the worries we have. The charity “Movember” has a campaign, Be A Man Of More Words, encouraging men to have more meaningful chats and to develop stronger social connections. There is plenty of advice and tips as well to help us build our resilience in tackling difficult issues and emotions.
There is also a tool developed by R U OK? to help you reach out to someone who you are worried about and think may be struggling. Reach out with ALEC gives four simple steps to help you start that difficult conversation:
Ask – how they’re feeling. Mention any changes e.g. if they’ve stopped replying to texts. Trust your instinct and don’t be afraid to ask twice.
Listen – give them your full attention and let them know you are hearing them and not judging.
Encourage action – help them focus on simple things that might make them feel better. Encourage him/her to talk and share their feelings with others they trust.
Check in – follow up that conversation with a text or a call. It shows you care and helps you monitor if they start to feel better.
It really does help to talk and to share your concerns and worries. So please step forward and access the support you need.
Let’s all work together to support each other. Let’s ask for help when we need it and let’s listen out for others. Anyone can be affected by poor mental health or suicide but help is there for everyone. Suicide is preventable, not inevitable.
Finally, I have mentioned and shared the links to Doncaster’s ‘Another Way’ video a few times before, but it is such a powerful and moving message that I’d like to take the opportunity to share again.
I have included a few resources here which provide advice, information and support in addition to the local services highlighted above.
Samaritans: www.samaritans.org; Telephone: 116 123
- How we can help
- If you’re having a difficult time
- Signs you may be struggling to cope
- Practical ways to help yourself cope
CALM: www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
Heads Together: www.headstogether.org.uk
Mind: www.mind.org.uk; Telephone: 0300 123 3393
NHS Every Mind Matters:
For children and young people:
Papyrus: www.papyrus-uk.org; Hopeline (confidential support and advice service): 0800 068 41 41
Young Minds: Looking after yourself
The Mix: Mental Health
Childline: www.childline.org.uk; Tel. 0800 1111