More than 6,000 people in the UK take their lives each year – that’s an average of 18 deaths by suicide a day.
Communities have an important role to play in supporting those who are vulnerable – a sentiment reflected in the theme of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept 10): ‘Take a minute, change a life.’
Family members and friends often worry about someone they think is feeling very low, but believe they don’t possess the skills to talk about it with them.
The best way to help is by asking questions – that way the person you are talking with finds his or her own answers.
- When – ‘When did you realise?’
- Where – ‘Where did that happen?’
- What – ‘What else happened?’
- How – ‘How did that feel?’
- Why – be careful with this one as it can make someone defensive. ‘What made you choose that’ or ‘What were you thinking about at the time’ are more effective.
If someone has been feeling low for some time it’s probably a good idea to seek support.
Questions you might ask include:
- ‘Have you talked to anyone else about this?’
- ‘Would you like to get some help?’
- ‘Would you like me to come with you?’
Or, for someone who is reluctant to get help:
- ‘Do you have someone you trust you can go to?’
- ‘If it helps, you can talk to me any time.’
There are many sources of help available:
Your GP: Your GP can offer you support and, if appropriate, refer you to mental health services.
Samaritans: Call 116 123.
HOPELineUK: Support, advice and information for children and young people up to the age of 35. Call 0800 068 41 41.
Gloucestershire Self Harm Helpline: Call 0808 816 0606.
Let’s Talk: Call 0800 073 2200, or visit www.talkghc.nhs.uk
Stay Alive app: You can download the Stay Alive app free on the App Store or Google Play.
If you live in Gloucestershire or Herefordshire and are in mental health crisis, click on the red ‘Help in a Crisis’ button at the top of this page.