Working Together To Prevent Suicide

Scotland is Working Together to Prevent Suicide – including across Clackmannanshire and Stirling

Suicide Prevention Week 10-16 September, starts with World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, and is an opportunity to acknowledge that suicide is preventable. And that it’s everyone’s business.

The continuing Choose Life ‘Read between the lines’ campaign asks everyone to be alert to the warning signs of suicide in people close to them. If you’re worried about someone, such as a friend, family member or workmate, asking them directly about their feelings can help to save their life.

Signs of suicide can be difficult to spot which is why the campaign encourages people to take all signs of distress seriously, even if it seems a person is living a normal life. People can feel assured that asking a person about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference.

Raising awareness of suicide prevention and giving the public information is vital. During 2018 Suicide Prevention Week, activities include the launch of our new Suicide Prevention Crisis Card which provides useful advice and contacts, a new Suicide Prevention Awareness talk as well as discussions around the development of our local Suicide Action Plan.

The emotional impact on families, friends and communities bereaved by suicide is devastating and can have long lasting negative effects on those left behind. Whilst it is difficult to put an exact cost on the economic and social impact of a suicide; a figure of £1.5 million per individual has been estimated[1]. The ripple effect on families, friends and communities adds another dimension which would increase this figure dramatically.

Suicide prevention is everyone’s business and the new Suicide Prevention Action Plan for Scotland, Every Life Matters, continues to support the National Outcome to enable people to live longer, healthier lives.

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said:

“Every life matters and no death by suicide should be regarded as either acceptable or inevitable. Over the past decade, Scotland has made real progress in reducing deaths by suicide but we want to go further. Our view is that suicide is preventable, and where anyone contemplating suicide or who has lost a loved one to suicide should get the support they need.

“If we are to achieve this, we need to make clear that suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We need to work together across sectors and organisations to identify and support people in distress, strengthen communities, and save lives.”

Shiona Strachan, Chief Officer, Clackmannanshire & Stirling Health & Social Care Partnership said: “If someone you are close to shows signs of not being themselves, you will normally notice. When changes in their behaviour begin to worry you – even if the signs come and go – the most important aspect is to ask them about it.

“Talking openly about their feelings can help a person get clarity about what is troubling them. Starting this conversation helps them gain a perspective on their distress. You don’t need to have a solution to their problems – being there for them and listening, without judgement, shows that you care and their distress, and ultimately their happiness, is important to you.”

Shiona added: “Ask if they are thinking about suicide. It won’t put the thought into their head if it wasn’t there before, but it can be a big relief for them to be able to open up fully and acknowledge they need help and support. By taking the time to show you care and are there to listen, you could change their life.”

Support is available from a number of organisations, including Samaritans on 116 123 and Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.

Any organisations that would like more information about Suicide Prevention Awareness talks for their staff should contact Sylvie McCleary at Integrated Mental Health Services on 01259 215048 or email integratedmentalhealth@clacks.gov.uk

[1] https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/zero-suicides