Torridge' s Public Health Team are supporting World Suicide Prevention Day

suicide Prevention

We are asking the residents of Torridge to take a minute to check on friends and family and to simply ask how they are 'actually' doing.

Taking a minute to reach out to someone in your community - a family member, friend, colleague or even a stranger - could change the course of another person's life.

People are often reluctant to reach out, for many reasons, including a fear of not knowing what to say. It is important to remember, there is no specific formula. Empathy, compassion, genuine concern, knowledge of resources and services that are available and a desire to help are key to preventing a tragedy.

Another reason that stops people from reaching out is the worry of making the situation worse. This is understandable as suicide is a difficult issue to address but evidence shows that if you ask if someone is having thoughts of suicide - this will not trigger the act or be the reason that someone completes a suicide. The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress, as opposed to making things worse.

Rates of suicide are higher in North Devon than in other parts of the county.

One Northern Devon brings together public, community and voluntary organisations, with the aim of improving people's health and wellbeing. The partners have been working on a joint suicide prevention plan, which localises the Devon-wide plan for northern Devon and recognises that we all have a part to play in preventing suicide. 

The first step in this was for One Northern Devon partners to develop and sign the Stop Suicide Pledge, and we are now encouraging other organisations and individuals to join us.

The pledge asks organisations, employers and individuals to commit to reaching out to people who they think need to talk, and to signpost them to the help available.

As part of the campaign, we want to reach a target of 50 organisations and 1000 individuals signing the pledge. 

Visit the website to  find out more and sign the pledge. 

Councillor Philip Hackett - Lead Member for Health Wellbeing and Community Safety said:

"Any initiative aimed at helping people talk more openly about mental health issues and in particular suicide is a step in the right direction. We need to support people who are going through difficult times and as a Council we have signed up to the pledge to do all we can to prevent suicides and encourage open discussion between people. Residents can help as well by simply reaching out to friends, neighbours or anyone they come across and ask them how they are "actually" doing.

Sadly suicide has become the most likely cause of death under the age of 50 (higher than cancer or heart disease) and all too often takes the life of people that are known to us, and whom often seem the most least likely of people to take their own life. In our rural community farmers are particularly at risk, as are young people, and even children themselves all too often take their own lives. We all need to try and make a difference in reversing this trend"

Take a minute to:

- Notice what is going on with you, your family, your friends and your colleagues.

- To reach out and start a conversation if you notice something is different. Trust your gut - if someone says they are OK but don't seem OK - keep trying, quietly and gently.

- To find out what help is available for both you and others.

Across the world, one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide and up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt. There are also many more people who have been bereaved by suicide or have been close to someone who has made an attempt. World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 is about the global community and encouraging people to engage with each other and to join together to spread awareness of suicide prevention.

If you are worried about someone please read the 'It's safe to talk about suicide' leaflet.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts please read the 'Letter of Hope' which has been written by people in Devon who have been in a similar situation to you.

Contact the Samaritans website or freephone 116 123.

10 September 2018