FAMILY members, friends and work colleagues are being targeted in a new campaign to help reduce the number of suicides in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
The #TalkSuicide campaign is being run by Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, local hospitals and NHS community services and aims to raise awareness of the issue and make it easier for people to talk about it.
The campaign is being launched today (Thursday, September 10) coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day.
Individuals, communities, organisations and businesses are all invited to show their support by signing up to the campaign and taking action to help prevent suicide.
Dr Johnny McMahon, cabinet member for Health, Care and Wellbeing at Staffordshire County Council said:
“The reasons for suicide can be complex and brought on by many different issues or worries, and as we know, it can have a devastating effect on families and local communities.
“We know that most of us really don’t like to talk about suicide and that’s why people who are in need of help don’t usually ask for it. But simply talking and listening to someone who is thinking about suicide can be lifesaving and can help them on their road to recovery.
“Through our #TalkSuicide campaign we want to make everyone more aware of the signs which show that someone that they know may be contemplating suicide and to have the confidence to talk to them about it. Knowing the right thing to say could save a life.”
Cllr Ally Simcock, cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Health Care at Stoke-on-Trent City Council said:
“Suicide is not an easy subject to talk about and there are unfortunately still a lot of myths and preconceptions around suicide and mental health. Suicide sadly leaves friends and communities across the country and our own city devastated. Therefore, it’s so important we all talk to each other about how we’re really feeling to help break the stigma and save lives.
“I am pleased to be working with our partners across the city and Staffordshire to launch the #TalkSuicide campaign. #TalkSuicide aims to get people talking, bust some of the myths around suicide and to give people the confidence to help somebody who may be struggling – even small talk can help to save a life. I would encourage anybody who is struggling to seek help. Together, we can help to prevent suicide.”
Sadly 10 lives are lost to suicide each month across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, equating to around 2,000 years of life being prematurely lost every year. The highest suicide rate in the area is among men in their 40’s and 50’s.
Dr Waheed Abassi, Clinical Director Mental Health for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs said:
“Across Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent we're committed to preventing suicide.
"This work is driven by the Suicide Prevention Partnership. We work with experts and family members who have lost loved ones to suicide and focus on key areas set out by Public Health England.
"Suicide prevention is very complicated and challenging. It relies on statutory, voluntary and independent sector organisations working effectively together. We're all in this together.”
Sir Neil Mackay, Chair of Together We’re Better, the health and care partnership for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent said:
“Suicide is a complex issue, that has been made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic which has made more people feel isolated and caused so much uncertainty and placed extra strain on relationships. However help has never stopped being available to people who need it and I would encourage anyone who is concerned about their mental health to seek support. It will be delivered in a way that is supportive and COVID safe.”
The #TalkSuicide campaign is being funded by the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.
People can find out more about the campaign and sign up for more information on local sources of support and training at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/talksuicide