PEOPLE from across Staffordshire are being urged to support and join a new campaign to help reduce the number of suicides in the county.
The #TalkSuicide campaign aims to raise awareness of the issue and make it easier for people to talk about it.
As part of the campaign, Staffordshire couple Mandy and Paul Stubbs share their experiences having lost their daughter Hannah to suicide in 2015. In the short video, the couple talk about the devastating effect of suicide on their family and the difference people can make when they are aware of the signs someone may be suicidal and help them get the support they need. You can watch their video here.
The campaign coincides with International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day tomorrow (Saturday, Nov 21).
Dr Johnny McMahon, cabinet member for Health, Care and Wellbeing at Staffordshire County Council said:
“Through our campaign and Mandy and Paul’s story we hope to make everyone more aware of the issue of suicide and more importantly what they can do to help prevent it.
“The reasons for suicide can be complex and brought on by many different issues or worries, and as we know, when it happens has a devastating effect on families and local communities. Most of us really don’t like to talk about 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.
“Supporting International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day gives us a good opportunity to help remind people that they really can make a difference and help to save lives.”
In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, 10 lives are lost to suicide each month, with men in their 40’s and 50’s accounting for the highest group.
Cllr Ally Simcock, cabinet member for adult social care and health care at Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “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.”
Dr Waheed Abassi, Clinical Director Mental Health for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent said:"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.”
Prem Singh, 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 and sign up at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/talksuicide.
* Support is available for anyone who is worried about their own, or someone else’s mental health. People in North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent can call 0300 123 0907 or visit www.combined.nhs.uk/get-in-touch/contact-us. For people living in South Staffordshire the number is 0808 196 3002 or they can visit https://www.mpft.nhs.uk/emergency-help.
* Support is available for people who have been bereaved by suicide by calling SOBS on 0300 111 5065 9.00am-9.00pm Monday to Sunday or visiting www.uksobs.org.
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day aims to bring people affected by suicide together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experiences.