In a week following release of figures by the Office of National Statistics which reports 5,821 suicides registered in the UK in 2017, World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day, Monday 10 September, aims to raise awareness that suicide is preventable. It aims to improve education, spread information about suicide and reduce stigmatisation.
With the lowest suicide rate observed in the UK since records began in 1981 at 5,821 deaths, it is still an unavoidable fact that suicide remains one of the highest causes of preventable premature death globally. Unchanged since the 1990’s is the fact that that three quarters of deaths by suicide in the UK, 4,382 in 2017, were accounted for by men.
Mark Lawton, Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline says: “While it’s encouraging to see a fall in suicide rates nationally, we can’t ignore that suicide remains one of the highest causes of preventable premature death. We recognise that collaboratively, we can all play a role in reducing suicide rates and in providing support to those both at risk of suicide and affected by suicide”.
Over a 12-month period to March 2018, the Brighter Futures helpline, received 913 calls related to suicide. An increase of 9% on the previous 12 months.
Mark continues, “We have seen an increase in calls related to suicide to the helpline, however, what we can take as a positive from this it is that people are reaching out to us, talking and asking for support. We know how hard it is for someone to call us, and how much it helps when they do. Callers to our helpline often tell us how it’s helped them to get further help. They call from all walks of life struggling to cope. Often, they call us not knowing where to turn, suicide at that point can seem like their only option. I can’t say this enough, it’s not, talk to us”.
Mark goes to describe how a conversation whether it’s text, email, an instant message or a phone call can be the difference between life and death. Whether it’s the helpline, your GP, another support service or someone you know, Mark urges anyone struggling to reach out.
One caller to the helpline who phoned contemplating suicide puts it simply:
“I never knew talking to a stranger could help”.
Following on from his call to the helpline, the caller was able to see what support was available and see that there was a way forward.
In support of Suicide Awareness Day, Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline is urging people to reach out, share and know there is support available. The service is available to anyone aged over 18 living in Staffordshire who may be struggling to cope. The helpline highlights their service is totally confidential, anonymous and free, and can help someone to see a way forward.
The helpline also points out that if you know someone who is suicidal, struggling to cope or you’re concerned about someone’s mental health, you can call the helpline too. The Helpline has been running a series of posts through social media in which it is promoting ‘Take one minute’. Where it is asking people to take one minute to call them, share their number, reach out to someone they know.
Mark Lawton says: “If by someone calling us or sharing our number, another death by suicide is prevented then then we’re going in the right direction”.
If you are feeling suicidal or concerned about your own mental health or that of someone you know contact Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline: 0808 800 2234, visit www.brighter-futures.org.uk to instant message, text: 07860 022821 or email: email@example.com.
Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline is open 365 days a year, 7pm-2am weekdays and 2pm-2am weekends.