World Suicide Prevention Day- Change the Conversation to Save Lives

On World Suicide Prevention Day (#WSPD2018), let’s commit to changing the conversation on suicide to save lives.

By changing how we descibe suicide, we can help remove stigma and help those bereaved by the loss of a loved one who has died by suicide. Those having suicidal thoughts can feel reluctant to reach out and talk about their feelings if they think that they wil be judged harshly, or if they think that talking about their thoughts may cause distress to those listening.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have lots of resouces for those who may be having suicidal thoughts, or who want to support someone having these thoughts, and there are many more  helpful organisations worldwide.

It is vital that we start having these conversations, as the Mental Health foundation report that in 2017 over 5000 deaths by suicide were recorded in the UK , with over three quarters of those deaths being men.

infographic showing suicide statistics fo rthe UK in 2017

2017 UK Suicide Statistics

Take a Minute

The IASP are asking people to take a minute each day to reach out to someone in your community. You may want to check in with those who may appear to be not coping well, or who may be behaving differently. You don’t have to be an expert or be able to advise, simple listening with empathy and compassion might be all that your co-worker/family member/friend or neighbour needs to help them deal with their distress or suicidal thoughts.

For people experiencing isolation, knowing that someone cares enough to ask can be the difference between life and death. As the IASP say in their #WSPD2018 campaign resources:

The listening ear of someone with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgement can help restore hope.

You Can Make a Difference

Just one minute out of your working day? Now that is not too much to ask, is it? Just think if every workplace had a 1 minute  ‘mates-break’ to enable colleagues to check in with each other, how many lives could we save each year?

Commit to Talk about Suicide Now

Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 50 in the UK, and the Mental Health foundation report that One person in fifteen had made a suicide attempt at some point in their life.

If your workplace has more than 15 employees, then the chances are that at least one of your workmates has experienced suicidal thoughts, and at least three or four will experience some form of mental health issue during their lives.

So the time to start these vital conversations is now,  as mounting evidence is showing that simply asking our friends and family if they have had suicidal thoughts over the past few weeks is the single most effective thing we can do.