World Suicide Prevention Day – 10 September
People who are contemplating suicide are being offered a powerful message of hope from others who have been in the same position as part of a new initiative designed to encourage them to stop, wait and talk while showing that someone cares.
Staff from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) have worked with service users who have tried to take their own lives, people who have lost loved ones and others with experience of suicide to create the message of hope.
It reminds people that they are not alone and encourages them to take the time to talk to someone they trust and reach out for hope. It also includes the contact details of organisations such as the Samaritans and Childline, as well as Refugee Action and Hopeline UK.
The message reads: “We don’t want anyone else to go through the trauma of suicide. We would like to give you some hope. This is a message because we care.
“We don’t know exactly how you are feeling at this moment but please don’t feel you are somehow weak or a failure…. Give yourself some time.
“Talk to someone you can trust who will listen. By talking things over a great sense of pressure is released – it becomes possible for your problems to seem more manageable… Reach out for hope. We now have a life and a future and there is a future waiting for you. With love from me to you.”
The message of hope has been launched to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, which takes place on 10 September and this year carries the theme “working together to prevent suicide”. It will be available online and at GP surgeries, NSFT bases and other NHS premises across both counties.
Liz Howlett, Suicide Reduction Plan Implementation Lead with NSFT, said: “We are proud that we have been able to work with people who have be directly affected by suicide to put together our message of hope.
“We have kept the message simple and concise so that people who are approaching a crisis will be able to absorb it and take away the main points. Its aim is to show that they are not alone and those dark times will go while reminding them that there are people out there who can help.
“We hope that our message will comfort and reassure people when they are at their most vulnerable so that they feel able to take those first steps and ask for help.”
Revd Canon Chris Copsey was asked to contribute to the message after working closely with people affected by suicide through her role as Chaplain with Norfolk Coroner’s Service. She also helps to organise an annual service to remember those who have lost their lives, as well as special suicide prevention workshops.
“I was really pleased to be invited to take part in this important project,” said Revd Copsey, who also has personal experience after helping a friend who tried to take their own life. “We wanted to put together something which was punchy but that would also speak to them in a sensitive way which they could recognise and work with. Hopefully it will have an immediate impact which may give vital time for someone to consider their actions. If it saves just one life, it will be worthwhile.
“The message is something people can carry with them and look at if they are feeling alone. At one of our conferences, we heard about a man who said he wanted to take his own life but wouldn’t if just one person smiled at him that morning. That shows that a smile can make a real difference – so just imagine what this message could do.
“I am really passionate about trying to support people before an event, and would urge anyone who is worried about someone else not to be afraid to talk – talking about suicide won’t make it happen, but could actually prevent it. Speak as human to human and offer a smile, hug or a hand on the shoulder – it might make all the difference by giving someone the time they need to allow them to open up and ask for help.”
Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney and Wellbeing Suffolk provide a range of support for people with common mental health and emotional issues, such as low mood, depression or stress. The service aims to work with people to help them make changes to improve their wellbeing and quality of life before they reach crisis point.
For more information, call 0300 123 1503 or visit www.wellbeingnands.co.uk
You can download the Message of Hope leaflet from this page (left column, under 'Resources').
If you need someone to talk to, you can call The Samaritans on 116 123. For more information, visit the Samaritans' website here.
For further advice and to find out about the support that NSFT can offer, visit the Help in a crisis page here.
Photo: Peer support worker Katrina Squires, Steve Foyster and Revd Canon Chris Copsey, who helped to put together the message of hope.
To find out more, visit our World Suicide Prevention Day page here.