Every year, 10 September marks World Suicide Prevention Day – a chance to not only raise awareness of mental health, but ultimately work to prevent more people dying from suicide.
It will once again focus on ‘Creating Hope Through Action’, and we’re looking at ways of doing just that – while offering you, our beneficiaries, important information around where to find help, should you need it.
According to the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP), one in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide – each one impacting countless people around them. So, encouraging people to seek help early and removing the stigma around suicide has never been more important.
The message is clear – suicide IS preventable. And every one of us may be able to help someone else when they need it most.
IASP, which co-hosts the day every year, explains on its website: “Creating Hope Through Action is a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and aims to inspire confidence and light in all of us; that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.
“Preventing suicide is often possible and you are a key player in its prevention. Through action, you can make a difference to someone in their darkest moments – as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbour. We can all play a role in supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide.”
So, in line with that, we have gathered a few simple actions you could try taking to help not only yourself, but also those around you…
- Picking up the phone and calling a family member, friend or colleague for a chat
- Inviting a friend for a coffee and catch-up
- Trying a new hobby – not only helping you to meet more people, but also find a new passion
- Head out on a walk, run, cycle ride or any other form of exercise that takes your fancy
You can scroll down to find info and signposting to specialist organisations that may be able to help, should you or someone you know need it.
Do you have suicidal thoughts?
When experiencing suicidal thoughts, taking the first step towards seeking support is the most important thing you can do.
It’s important to talk to someone you trust. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to friends or family, there are a number of non-judgemental, safe and impartial organisations you can speak to as well.
If you are in crisis, The Fire Fighters Charity’s Crisis Line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Immediate and ongoing suicide and mental health crisis care for past and present UK fire services personnel. Call: 0300 373 0896.
If you are concerned about someone
If you are worried that someone may be thinking about suicide, talk to them and ask them about how they are feeling. Ask twice if you have to.
It is important to remember that you should not try to solve someone’s issues or give advice, but encourage them to seek professional support. If someone tries to end their life, this is not your fault.
If someone is in crisis you should contact the local Mental Health Crisis team or take them to the local A&E. Caring for a family member or a friend that is feeling suicidal can be very stressful and can impact your own sleep, emotional health and wellbeing, so it is important that you take care of yourself the best you can during this challenging time and seek support if you need it.
Is your life in danger?
If you have seriously harmed yourself or you’re putting plans in place to do so, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E. If you can’t do so yourself, ask someone else to do so for you.
Where to seek help
- Find 24-hour support and information services via the NHS website.
- Call the Samaritans for free on 116 123, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a reply within 24 hours
- Text “Shout” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line
- Have a live webchat with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) or phone between 5pm and midnight on 0800 585 858.
- Under 35s can contact Papyrus, a charity that specialises in preventing young suicides. Call 0800 068 4141 between Monday and Friday or email email@example.com.
Have you lost a loved one to suicide?
The loss of someone you love to suicide can be extremely traumatic and painful, especially when approaching birthdays, anniversaries or other memorable dates, all of which can trigger painful feelings. The way in which we grieve is personal and we all need to find a way that is right for us.
Talking and sharing memories with friends or families can be helpful, as can sharing your experience with others who have been through something similar. There are many organisations that can help you to find support groups in your local community or provide professional help, including the following:
How can The Fire Fighters Charity help?
It is important to know we are not a crisis charity, so if you feel you need urgent support, or are at crisis point, you can find further information here.
If you don’t feel able to talk to family and friends, you can still seek early help by contacting our support line and speaking to a member of our Psychological Services team. They can listen to you and understand your needs, then either offer telephone or online counselling, signpost you, or help you to access support from more appropriate external organisations.
We may also be able to offer residential breaks at our centres to take part in our wellbeing programmes, including workshops on everything from sleep to stress and anxiety.
You’re not alone.