World Suicide Prevention Day takes place every year on September 10th to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. The theme this year is ‘Creating Hope through Action’ – a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide. Over 6,000 people die by suicide in the UK each year and men remain three times more likely to take their own lives than women.
Most people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have. This year we encourage all our colleagues to help raise awareness of how to help
prevent suicide, reduce the stigma and get the confidence to reach out. The Zero suicide alliance has short one line training that we’d encourage everyone to complete

• The Gateway session provides a very brief introduction to suicide awareness and only takes 5-10 minutes.

• The ZSA Suicide Awareness Training is a more in depth suicide awareness training session which takes around 20 minutes.

Evidence shows asking someone if they’re suicidal can protect them, starting a conversation could help save a life!

Gillian Halpin who is one of our Mental Health First Aiders explains below how important talking and listening is.

“I’ve been a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) for almost 3 years and a big part of that is supporting colleagues by simply talking and listening. MHFAs have comprehensive training around offering initial support and signposting for people experiencing emotional distress or mental health – and the description of MHFA includes some impressive-sounding words like ‘being a point of contact’, ‘interaction’ and ‘early intervention’.

As a massive part of the MHFA role is non-judgemental listening, in everyday language we’re often simply having a conversation, or even a chat. So MHFAs have training – but anyone can (and often do, without even thinking about it) make a difference and support someone with their mental health and wellbeing simply by having a chat or even ‘small talk’, knowing that:

• our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling

• small talk can save lives and create a sense of connection and hope in somebody who may be struggling

• compassion and kindness in being there to listen can help colleagues in need feel more comfortable in coming forward to seek help

On World Suicide Prevention Day, and every day, we can reach out and let others know they’re not alone.”

Gillian Halpin
Learning Mentor – Employment & Skills

Where to go for further support:

• Our Mental Health First Aiders are here to listen and signpost to any further support for any employee that is going through a difficult time. A list of Mental Health First Aiders and contact details can be found here.

• Call the free Samaritans number, 116 123, at any time, 365 days a year.