North Yorkshire Police and their partner agencies are supporting World Suicide Prevention Daytomorrow (10th September).

Organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organisation in 2003, its purpose is to promote world-wide commitment and action to prevent suicides.

Suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for more than 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.

Last year, there were 5,691 suicides registered in England and Wales. Three quarters of those were men, the highest rate since 2000 with 16.9 deaths per 100,000 and for women 5.3 deaths per 100,000 the highest rate since 2004.

Men aged between 45 and 50 are at the highest risk of suicide with 25.5 deaths per 100,000, and for women the most at risk age is between 50 and 54 with 7.4 deaths per 100,000.

Although the lowest age range for reported suicide is the under 25s, there has been a significant increase in 2019 especially in females aged between 10 and 24 with it reaching the highest level since 2012 with a rate of 3.1 deaths per 100,000.

Worryingly, the Yorkshire and the Humber area has the highest suicide rates for both males and females in England.

Preventing suicide

Preventing suicide is often possible and we can all make a difference – as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbour. There are many things that we can do daily, and also on World Suicide Prevention Day itself, to prevent suicidal behaviour.

We can raise awareness about the issue, educate ourselves and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in our community, question the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health problems and share our own experiences.

The most essential ingredient for effective is collaboration – we all have a role to play and together we can collectively address the challenges presented by suicidal behaviour.

Increase awareness

Talking about the fact that we all have mental health and recognising that this is part of who we are, can help to normalise the conversation around the topic. This contributes to an environment where individuals have greater awareness and understanding of the challenge and how it can be tackled.

Creating awareness is an important step of a prevention strategy. It is important for individuals to be able to recognise when they may need support, for themselves or others, and what to do get help.

Let people know they’re not alone

Building awareness and understanding means that family, friends and colleagues are able to support each other.

If someone has been impacted by suicide, talking about it can empower them to seek more help – and not feel alone.

Help bust the taboo

Individuals may be put off talking about suicide because of the stigma and taboo around the subject. The feelings of being alone, coupled with the thought they might be judged, can stop them reaching out for the support they need at a difficult time.

Remember, you are not alone and there is always someone to help you.

Coping right now…

  • Try not to think about the future – just focus on getting through today
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol
  • Get yourself to a safe place, like a friend’s house
  • Be around other people
  • Do something you usually enjoy, such as spending time with a friend

If you are struggling, please don’t suffer in silence…talk to someone.

 

 

Some factors that may increase a person’s risk for suicide include:

  • Current intent and plan, access to means
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Current or previous history of psychiatric diagnosis
  • Impulsivity and poor self-control
  • Hopelessness – presence, duration, severity
  • Recent losses – physical, financial, personal
  • Recent discharge from an inpatient psychiatric unit
  • Family history of suicide
  • History of abuse (physical, sexual or emotional)
  • Serious health problems, especially a newly diagnosed problem or worsening symptoms
  • Age, gender, race (elderly or young adult, unmarried, white, male, living alone)
  •          Sexual orientation

Some factors that may decrease the risk for suicide are also called protective factors. These include:

  • Positive social support
  • Spirituality
  • Sense of responsibility to family
  • Children in the home, pregnancy
  • Life satisfaction
  • Reality testing ability
  • Positive coping skills
  • Positive problem-solving skills
  • Positive therapeutic relationship

It is worth keeping in mind that suicidality can be an attempt by the individual to solve a problem, one that they find overwhelming. Understanding this can help us to be non-judgmental and not panic or over-react. We can then work with the person to develop alternative solutions to the problems leading to suicidal feelings, intent and/or behaviours.      

                  

Here are some ways to be helpful to someone who is threatening suicide or engaging in suicidal behaviours:

  • Be aware – learn the risk factors and warning signs and know where to get help
  • Be direct – talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide, what you have observed, and what your concerns are regarding his/her well-being
  • Be willing to listen – allow expression of feelings, accept the feelings, and be patient
  • Be non-judgmental – don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong or whether the person’s feelings are good or bad; don’t give a lecture on the value of life
  • Be available – show interest, understanding, and support
  • Don’t dare him/her to engage in suicidal behaviours
  • Don’t ask “why”
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available – but don’t offer reassurances that any one alternative will turn things around in the near future
  • Take action – remove lethal means of self-harm such as pills, ropes, firearms, and alcohol or other drugs
  • Get help from others with more experience and expertise
  • Be actively involved in encouraging the person to see a mental health professional as soon as possible and ensure that an appointment is made

Individuals contemplating suicide often don’t believe that they can be helped, so you may have to be active and persistent in helping them to get the help they need.

And, after helping a friend, family member or a colleague during a mental health crisis, be aware of how you may have been affected emotionally and seek the necessary support for yourself.

Some questions that can be asked

Are you feeling hopeless about the present or future?

If yes, ask: Have you had thoughts about taking your life?

If yes, ask: When did you have these thoughts and do you have a plan to take your life? Have you ever had a suicide attempt? 

Services that can offer direct help and support

GPs

Request an emergency appointment with your GP. A GP may be able to contact other teams such as the crisis team. Most GPs have a 24 hour ‘out of hours’ telephone number that you can contact.

Accident & Emergency (A&E)

You should go to the accident and emergency (A&E) or casualty department of the local hospital. A&E can make and assessment and may arrange for a duty psychiatrist to you. The psychiatrist can do a more thorough assessment.

NHS 111

You can call NHS 111 when you need medical help but it’s not a 999 emergency. Call 111 if:

  • you think you need to go to accident and emergency (A&E) or need help from a crisis team
  • you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call, or
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next.

Emergency Services (999)

If your relative, friend or colleague is at risk of harming themselves or others, then you can contact the emergency services on 999. They may contact mental health services such as the crisis team.

Crisis Teams

Crisis teams are part of mental health services. They can support people who are having a mental health crisis in the community (for example, in their own home). There should be a crisis team in every area which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Community Mental Health Teams

Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) support people who have complex or serious mental health problems in the community. They are usually only available during office hours on weekdays.

If you are concerned that you are developing a mental health problem you should seek the advice and support of your GP as a matter of priority.  If you are in distress and need immediate help and are unable to see a GP, you should visit your local A&E.

The Samaritans – Call 116 123 – it’s FREE and open 24/7 / email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to https://www.samaritans.org/

Mental health crisis services – support and urgent help for those in need –www.tewv.nhs.uk/crisisadvice – Call 0800 0516 171– out of hours helpline open Monday to Thursday 5pm to 8.30am and 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays

MIND – the leading UK mental health charity- https://www.mind.org.uk/ call 0300 123 3393 / text 86463 / email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 9am to 6pm Mon – Fri

CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – https://www.thecalmzone.net/help/get-help/mental-health/ – available 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year – 0800 585858

SANE – a leading UK mental health charity – http://www.sane.org.uk/ – call 0300 304 7000 / email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 4.30pm to 10.30pm everyday

The SilverLine – https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/ – for people over 55 call 0800 470 8090, open 24/7…like ChildLine but for older people

PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide) – https://www.papyrus-uk.org/ – for people under 35, call 0800 068 4141 / text 07786 209697 / email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., open 9am to 10pm Mon – Fri

Switchboard LGBT – https://switchboard.lgbt/ – for LGBT+ people, call 0300 330 0630 / email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., available 10am to 10pm everyday

  • And for those who might have been affected by a bereavement or by suicide

The Good Grief Trust – https://www.thegoodgrieftrust.org/

SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide) – https://uksobs.org/ – National Helpline 0300 111 5065 9am-9pm Monday to Sunday

CRUSE Bereavement Care – https://www.cruse.org.uk/ – 0808 808 1677

 

 

FREE suicide prevention training – spare 20 minutes to learn potentially life-saving skills

The Humber East Coast and Vale Health Care Partnership is offering a free training package on their website www.talksuicide.co.uk as part of their #TalkSuicide campaign.

It is based around the Zero Suicide Alliance training https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/.

Everyone is encouraged to take part in the training, which lasts around 20 minutes, and learn potentially life-saving skills.

 

Movember campaign: Be a man of more words

The men’s health charity, Movember, has launched a new campaign called “Be a man of more words”.

It aims to encourage men to talk more openly about issues that affect their mental health before it develops into crisis.

It’s not always easy to reach out when things get tough, but meaningful conversations early on can reduce the risk of suicide.

More information is available on the website www.movember.com/suicideprevention.

This year, on World Suicide Prevention Day, Movember’s message comes straight from men who know better than anyone – Be a man of more words  youtu.be/sjQBuowaDKY

To join the conversation on social media, use the hashtag #WSPD2020