World Suicide Prevention Day – 10 September
More than 400 people have been trained to prevent suicide and 150 have become “Suffolk Life Savers” as part of a far-reaching campaign to reduce the number of people in the county who take their own lives.
“Suffolk Lives Matter” has seen Public Health at Suffolk County Council work closely with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), clinical commissioning groups, the police, coroner, Healthwatch and Suffolk Mind with the aim of raising awareness, tackling stigma and reducing deaths.
Running from 2016 to 2019, the strategy details the steps which the partners will take to achieve the national ambition of a 10% reduction in the overall number of recorded suicides by 2021 which, in Suffolk, would equate to six deaths a year. This includes focusing on groups at particular risk, such as men and those using drugs or alcohol, gathering more information about suicides so that resources can be targeted and working more closely with people who have been bereaved.
So far, over 400 people have received specific suicide prevention training, 150 have signed up to tackle the stigma of suicide by becoming “Suffolk Life Savers” and work has taken place to target men aged between 40 and 60, who are most likely to take their own lives.
The partnership has also committed to creating a mobile app, called “Stay Alive”, to signpost people to help when they need it most, while a database which collates attempted
suicides as well as providing an early warning about potential suicide risks is being developed. Over the next 12 months, a new suicide liaison service will support people who have been bereaved by suicide, while more primary care staff will be involved in training.
The news comes on World Suicide Prevention Day, which this year carries the theme “working together to prevent suicide”.
Cllr James Reeder, SCC Cabinet Member for Health, said: “Suicide has far-reaching effects on family, friends and entire communities. No-one should feel they are alone, or that this is the only option. It’s great that through our partnership work in Suffolk’s Suicide Prevention strategy we have seen many people sign up as Suffolk Life Savers, but there is more to be done.
“More than 60 people die by suicide each year in Suffolk and people bereaved by the sudden death of a loved one are 65% more likely to attempt suicide if they died by suicide than if they died by natural causes.
“This is why it is so important for people to know that help is at hand. In Suffolk we have some outstanding support services who are ready to listen and offer advice and the new service operated by Listening Ear will provide additional support and collaborate with these organisations to making a real difference to people in Suffolk.”
The close collaborative working between NSFT and Public Health in both Suffolk and Norfolk has recently been heralded by the National Suicide Prevention Alliance and showcased in its newsletter.
Liz Howlett, Suicide Reduction Plan Implementation Lead with NSFT, (pictured) said: “We are pleased to be working with our partner across Suffolk raise awareness of suicide.
“Suicide is not an issue for one single organisation to tackle, which is why it is so vital for us to work together within our communities to gain a greater understanding of the issues surrounding suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
“Suicide is not inevitable, and through effective partnership and a shared commitment to make a difference, we can work together to save lives in Suffolk.”
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 pledge your support for the Suffolk Life Saver campaign, which aims to tackle the stigma associated with suicide and raise awareness about support which is available, by visiting here.
Warning signs: what to look out for
If you are worried about someone you know, there are several warning signs you can look out for:
• Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
• Someone actively looking for ways to end their life
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
• Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
• Suddenly very much ‘recovered’ after a period of depression
• Visiting or calling people unexpectedly to say goodbye
• Making arrangements, setting their affairs in order
• Giving things away, such as prized possessions
The contact details for organisations which can help are available here.
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.
To find out more, visit our World Suicide Prevention Day page here.