Today is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) 2020 - a day dedicated to raising awareness of how to prevent suicide. Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.
In 2018, in the UK and Republic of Ireland, more than 6,800 people died of suicide. Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy.
Take a minute
Taking a minute to reach out to someone, whether it’s a family member, friend, colleague or even a stranger, could change the course of their life. Individuals who have survived a suicide attempt have expressed how the words and actions of others can be important. People are often reluctant to intervene, for many reasons, including a fear of not knowing what to say but it’s important to remember, there is no specific formula.
Empathy, compassion, genuine concern, knowledge of resources and a desire to help are key to preventing a tragedy. Offering support and a listening ear are shown to reduce distress, as opposed to exacerbating it.
Keep the conversation going
We all have a role to play in the prevention of suicide, and when we realise this and come together, change will happen. Raising awareness and removing the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health is one of the most important things that everyone can do.
It is because of awareness days like WSPD and charities like Mates in Mind that we are really beginning to see a unity and passion to help those struggling with their mental health.
Spotting the signs that someone needs support
You might not always be able to spot these signs, and these emotions show up differently in everyone, however these are things to look out for:
- Feeling restless and agitated
- Feeling tearful
- Not wanting to talk to or be with people
- Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
- Finding it hard to cope with everyday things
- Not replying to messages or being distant
- Their work just doesn’t appear to be at the same standard
- New pattern of unexplained lateness or absences
- Recent inability to concentrate on their work or in meetings
- Recent inability to complete any of their work
Taking action when you spot the signs
If you spot any of the signs above, or just have a feeling that something is off, start the conversation. Encourage them to talk about their struggle and actively listen. Enabling someone to speak about what they are going through can be one of the best ways to support them.
It is also important that you encourage them to seek help for what they are struggling with. There are some amazing charities and organisations that offer free and confidential support.
Remember, you are not alone.
Samaritans: 116 123
The Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. 24/7 support for people who are in despair or suicidal.
Construction Industry Helpline: 0345 605 1956
Provided by the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and supported by the Considerate Constructors Scheme, the helpline advises on a range of matters including occupational health and wellbeing, support and advice for people with stress, and home worries such as divorce, tax and financial concerns. The services can also provide emergency financial aid to the construction community in times of crisis.
Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (or text 86463)
The team at the leading mental health charity Mind can provide information on a range of topics including types of mental health problem, where to get help, medication and alternative treatments.
Workplace mental health support service: 0300 4568114
Provided by Remploy, in partnership with Access to Work, WMHSS offers a free and confidential support service to help you remain in your job when it is being affected by stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health issue (whether diagnosed or not). If you are finding work difficult or you are absent from work their advisors will help you make a wellbeing plan and support you with workplace adjustments, including how to get support from your employer.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): 0800 58 58 58
CALM provide a helpline for men in the UK who are down o/r have hit a wall, who need to talk or find information and support. The helpline is open 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. They also offer a webchat service between the same hours.
Prevention of Young Suicide (Papyrus) 0800 068 41 41
Papyrus provide confidential help and advice to young people and anyone worried about a young person. Their HOPELineUK service is staffed by trained professionals who give non-judgemental support, practical advice and information to; children, teenagers and people up to the age of 35. They can be contacted on 0800 068 41 41, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or SMS 07786 209697
The Silver Line 0800 4 70 80 90
The Silver Line is the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.