It’s safe to talk about suicide – have a conversation, it could save a life
People across Buckinghamshire are being invited to light a candle and place it near a window at 8pm on Tuesday 10 September, which is World Suicide Prevention Day, to show their support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost loved one, and to support the survivors of suicide.
Local organisations including the County Council, NHS, Mind and local charities, and other partners are coming together to support World Suicide Prevention Day. Their message is that if you’re worried about someone’s wellbeing or think they may not be OK, it’s safe to talk to them about suicide.
Why do we need to talk about suicide?
- Every day in England around 13 people take their own lives
- Around 30 people die by suicide in Buckinghamshire each year
- 1 in 5 of us have thoughts of suicide at some point in our lives
In Buckinghamshire and nationally, three in four suicides are men aged between 40-49. Some of the contributing factors for suicide in general include previous self-harm, debt and financial worries, stress at work, mental health problems, relationship breakdowns and misuse of alcohol or drugs.
Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health said
“Although the number of deaths by suicide in Buckinghamshire is small; the statistics around suicide nationally are stark, with someone dying as a result of suicide in the UK every two hours. It is estimated that for every person who dies, at least ten other people are affected.
“Suicide can feel a difficult subject to talk about but, if you are concerned about someone, the safest way to start a conversation is to ask them if they are considering taking their own life. Asking them directly will not encourage them to take their own life.
“By asking, you give them the opportunity to say how they are feeling which can be a great relief. Once someone starts talking, they’ve got a better chance of discovering other options than suicide.
“You don’t have to be an expert to have this sort of conversation with someone – just listening to them can help, and try to encourage them to talk by using open questions – the ones that start with who, what, where, how, when or why. Listen to what they’re saying but don’t try to think of solutions.”
Trust your gut instincts and if something doesn’t seem right, say something. Signs to look out for include:
Feelings : worthless, hopeless, loss, alone, trapped, sudden calmness and peace
Words : I cannot take it anymore, I have had enough, everyone will be better off without me, I wish I was dead
Actions : making a will, making amends, saying goodbye, apologising for past events, doing risky things, withdrawing from others
Where can I get help?
If you have concerns that you or someone you know is about to act on suicidal thoughts call 111 or 999, or go to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department. In Buckinghamshire this is at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
There is further information and advice, including support for people bereaved by suicide, on the Buckinghamshire Mind website at http://www.bucksmind.org.uk/crisis-support/
To talk about your feelings you can also contact a GP or one of the local support organisations including:
Samaritans – 116 123 (24 hours)
Shout (free 24/7 text service) Text Shout to 85258
PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide) – 08000 684141
(Mon-Fri 10am-5pm + 7pm-10pm, weekends 2pm-5pm)
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) 0800 585858
(7 days a week 5pm-midnight)
MIND 0300 123 3393
Buckinghamshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
Buckinghamshire Adult Mental Health Services