Call to reach out to those who need support on World Suicide Prevention Day
To mark World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, people are being encouraged to reach out and ensure that those feeling hopeless get the support they need.
National data shows the number of deaths in Liverpool has been increasing since 2016, although local figures indicate it may have slowed from 2019-2021.
Public Health Liverpool co-ordinates the Liverpool Suicide Prevention Partnership, and supports the philosophy that no death from suicide is acceptable, and the aspiration should be for zero suicides.
Lots of factors influence the number of suicides in the population, and key challenges faced by communities at present such as social isolation and job and financial insecurity, increase the risk, as do difficult life events such as bereavement or breakdown of close relationships.
Not everyone who experiences these things is at risk of suicide, but it’s common for people to really struggle and face thoughts of taking their own life.
The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ and the aim is to focus attention, reduce stigma and raise awareness that suicides can be preventable. In Liverpool we’d like to inspire confidence and understanding in as many people as possible to REACH OUT out to anyone who may be at risk, and for those having thoughts of suicide to REACH OUT and get the help they need.
REACHOUT Liverpool – Is a campaign hosted by Liverpool City Council’s Public Health team and developed in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Alder Hey Children’s Foundation Trust. The Campaign reminds us that anyone can have suicidal thoughts, and that talking about suicide could save or change a life. The campaign encourages people to reach out and start a conversation – whether they are worried about someone – or are in crisis themselves.
It aims to raise awareness that suicide is often preventable, and to remove the stigma surrounding suicide that often prevents people in crisis reaching out, and those around them from even mentioning the word.
The key message from the REACHOUT campaign is made up of three parts:
See the problem – raising awareness of what to look out for, including the signs, behaviours and emotions a person in crisis might be displaying.
Say the words and start a conversation – we have partnered with the Zero Suicide Alliance who offer a 20-minute online training video which provides people with the skills and confidence to reach out to someone in crisis.
Signpost to support – providing information on local services that offer 24/7 crisis support.
The campaign also reaches out to people in crisis, encouraging them to speak to friends, family or professionals and letting them know change is possible, support is available and that they can feel better.
The Reach Out website provides information about a range of services that are specifically established in Liverpool to support those having thoughts of suicide as well as those bereaved or otherwise impacted by death from suicide.
The Kind to Your Mind Liverpool website also holds a wealth of information about self-help and local services to improve wellbeing and address mental health as well as some of the main factors the cause poor mental health like money issues, loneliness, illness of bereavement.
There is lots happening in Liverpool the demonstrates the theme of creating hope through action – local services are working together to prevent suicides and are reaching out to the public to create hope, improve wellbeing and encourage people to support others and seek help when needed.
Councillor Harry Doyle, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “Whilst it’s clear that more Government investment in mental health services is needed, support is available in Liverpool for people impacted by poor mental health as well as those having thoughts about suicide and I support any initiative that aims to improve access.
“We need to avoid the idea that “the help isn’t there”, or “other people need help more than I do” because these ideas can really make people feel like there is no hope and they have nowhere else to turn. The reality is that there are services in Liverpool offering support.
“The people and communities of Liverpool are also willing to support their friends, colleagues and neighbours when help is needed. The Reach Out campaign is helping tackle stigma and provide knowledge and understanding to ensure that this natural warmth and compassion that exists in our city includes reaching out when you’re worried someone might be in crisis and having the confidence to start a conversation, that could save a life.”
Professor Matthew Ashton, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, said: “Our recent local intelligence gives as an early indication that the increase we have seen in recent years in the rate of deaths from suicide may have slowed but it remains important it is for us to continue to work together to prevent Suicides in Liverpool.
“Our local suicide prevention partnership has a broad membership of local services from across education, emergency services, NHS and voluntary sector and this is vital because whilst suicide is a crucial public health issue, the action needed can only be made a reality with the support of our local partners and communities. This is how we ensure that the right support is in place, and people know how to access it, so that suicides can be prevented.”
The Reach Out campaign helps connect people with the things they need to feel better when they are struggling and to avoid ever feeling like they have nowhere to turn. It also helps us all to know the signs to look out for when someone is in crisis and gives us the knowledge and confidence to know what to do. I’d like to challenge everyone in Liverpool reading this to visit the campaign website and spend 20 minutes doing the Zero Suicide Alliance training, because any of us could encounter someone at risk and provide the glimmer of hope that makes a difference.
Every suicide is an individual tragedy and devastates families and friends and the wider community. It cannot be under-estimated the effect every suicide has on our society, so it’s important we continue to work towards a world of zero deaths from suicide.”
Are you having suicidal thoughts or worried about that someone you know is?
Speak to a friend, family member or someone you trust as they may be able to help you feel calmer and find some breathing space.
If you can’t think of anyone right now, or you just don’t want to talk to loved ones or you feel completely alone, there is help out there – you are not alone.
Freephone: Alder Hey Crisis Care on 0808 196 3550.
A trained and experienced team is on hand ready to listen and offer urgent mental health support, 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Text: the word GREEN to 85258
18 and over
Freephone: Mersey Care NHS on 0800 145 6570.
A trained and experienced team is on hand ready to listen and offer urgent mental health support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Text: the word HEAL to 85258.
The text services are free, confidential 24/7 text message support which are available for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or is struggling to cope.
If someone is in immediate danger call 999 or take them to A&E.