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World Suicide Prevention Day -10th September 2023

In a world where conversations about mental health are more important than ever, World Suicide Prevention Day, observed every September 10th, stands as a beacon of hope. It’s a day when communities worldwide come together to shed light on this critical issue, aiming to raise awareness, provide support, and ultimately save lives. Join us as we delve into the significance of World Suicide Prevention Day and explore the initiatives that are making a difference. This article also includes an interview from Liz and Olivia of the Heads2minds team describing their experience with the topic of suicide.


Breaking the Silence:


One of the most significant challenges in addressing suicide is breaking the silence that surrounds it. This day encourages open discussions about mental health, inviting people to share their experiences and seek help without judgment. By fostering an environment of acceptance and understanding, we pave the way for early intervention and support for those in need.


Destigmatising Mental Health:


Stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help.Suicide Prevention Day serves as a platform to destigmatise mental health issues. By sharing stories of resilience and recovery, we challenge preconceived notions and inspire others to seek assistance when facing their own mental health challenges.


Supporting Loved Ones:


For many, a significant aspect of suicide prevention involves supporting loved ones who may be struggling.We provide practical tips and resources for how to recognise warning signs, offer help, and foster asupportive environment that can be a lifeline for thosein crisis.


Message of Hope:


Ultimately, World Suicide Prevention Day sends a powerful message: there is hope, help is available, and every life is valuable. By uniting as a global community, we can create a world where suicide is preventable and individuals can find the support they need to overcome their darkest moments.

 

The Interview

We conducted interviews with both Liz and Olivia to gain valuable insights into their perspectives on suicide awareness and prevention. Liz brings a wealth of experience, having worked in the industry for an long period, while Olivia is relatively new to her career in this field. We believe that capturing a diverse range of perspectives is crucial to comprehensively address the topic of suicide prevention. Here we delve into the unique viewpoints offered by these two individuals at different stages of their professional journeys.


What is something you have been proud to be involved with or done, as someone with lived experience, that has influenced or informed an area of suicide prevention work?


Liz: I deliver Mental health First Aid training which is essential to support people to recognise signs and symptoms before mental health deteriorates. Early intervention and the ability to signpost to professional help. Talks to educate people with regards to psychosis and perhaps not being aware or have an insight into the dangers that can be present in an episode. Time spent with patients on the inpatient wards within the NHS to listen and offer empathy to support their care and provide hope for their future. Being part of NSPA and working with other Peers who have lived experience to make a difference in the world.

Getting involved with the Essex NHS Trust to provide guidance and education through induction, training, talks and events


Olivia: I’ve been proud to be working within inpatient settings, using my lived experience to help support where I can. My team's main objective is to establish connections within-patients and provide them with valuable emotional support during their stay. Drawing upon our own lived experiences, we aim to offer compassion and understanding to individuals who may be facing difficult and challenging times. This new role as a peer support worker has been super rewarding and patients are so willing to open up about their most inner feelings. Being able to give in-patients an outlet has seen such a big change in their overall well-being in some occasions. Often I am thanked for actually being able to help, support and listen which seems to be where there is a slight gap in the inpatient setting.


Where have you seen change or development in suicide prevention over the past 10 years?

Liz: Over the past 10 years, the conversation has started but there is still a long way to go. There is still stigma and people find it difficult to talk about the subject. We need to naturalise it and be open and honest about how we feel and reduce the taboo and worry that if we say something it is going to make things worse. I am aware that more needs to happen however things are going in the right direction to provide hope and support for the prevention of suicide.


Olivia: Over the past 10 years, i've noticed how the conversations around suicide are always changing, it no longer feels like a taboo subject and is often spoken about quite openly. Although there is still a really long way to go, I can already see a change in awareness of suicide as well as the language surrounding it.


What would be your call to action for people who are working in suicide prevention going forward in the next 5 years?

Liz: Within the next five years, I would like there to be more awareness regarding helplines and where to signpost for support. I would like the Mental health First aid training to become mandatory and law for all employers, schools, doctors and anywhere else, so at every workplace there is a qualified MHFA. More education and training is needed and support for people who have also been affected by suicide.


Olivia: Having done my mental health first aid training it's made everything a lot clearer with how i can support anyone.But not everyone knows what to do or where to go. I would also like to see more awareness about suicide itself, the more we talk about it the more people may be willing to talk openly about how they feel. Mental health shouldn’t be taboo, everyone has mental health and communication surrounding it could just save a life.


World Suicide Prevention Day reminds us that, collectively, we can make a difference in the fight against suicide. By embracing hope, breaking the silence, and supporting one another, we can work toward a world where mental health is prioritised and lives are saved. Let’s continue to spread awareness and compassion, not just on this day, but everyday.

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