Mental health challenges and how to cope with them or support those who may be struggling is the focus of a series of online events to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
Observed on September 10 each year, World Suicide Prevention Day provides the opportunity for people across the globe to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.
To support the annual event, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Suicide Audit & Prevention Group (SAPG) and Start a Conversation – Suicide is Preventable are hosting a week-long series of events to raise awareness and offer education and wellbeing support to professionals and the general public.
SAPG is made up of around 20 organisations including Leicestershire County Council, Rutland County Council and Leicester City Council. The online events offered include an introduction to suicide awareness training; wellbeing sessions including yoga and guided meditation - and also details of how to access long term support. All sessions are free.
We are committed to doing all we can to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention and are pleased to be able to offer these online sessions which are free of charge and open to all. It is so important to realise that help and support is available to those who are struggling and also to remind ourselves that we all have a part to play in offering hope and a listening ear to those who need it.Person:Leicestershire County Councillor, Mrs Louise Richardson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing
Councillor Vi Dempster, assistant city mayor for health said: “Each year about 30 people in Leicester die by suicide and each individual tragedy impacts on loved ones. This year, as we’ve all had to cope with COVID, people are more vulnerable than ever to life’s stresses linked to bereavement, isolation, and other restrictions. We can all create hope, by reaching out and supporting someone who has lost a loved one, feels pressure at work, or has suffered through isolation. A small gesture goes a long way to creating hope through action.”
This year’s theme is ‘creating hope through action’ and aims to remind us that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.
Sarah from Leicester lost her 33-year-old son to suicide three years ago. She said: “Although it’s coming up for 3 years, Tom’s death is as real to me as it was then.
“To outsiders he was handsome, goofy, game for a laugh and at times highly strung. He was loving and kind even though he experienced days of misery and desperation which he referred to as his ‘black dog’.
“World Suicide Prevention Day provides an open and supportive network for anyone from all walks of life. I’m lucky to have good people and networks of support around me who listen or respond to my silence and behaviours. It’s something I hope to encourage others to do."
Councillor Alan Walters, cabinet member for health, wellbeing and adult care at Rutland County Council said: “This year’s World Suicide Prevention Day aims to remind people that there is always hope. There is always an alternative to suicide and all of us – through our actions and interactions with others – can help to support people experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide. There is no right or wrong way to approach someone, just start a conversation.”
Avinash Hiremath, medical director at Leicester Partnership NHS Trust (LPT), said: "Each year, LPT supports and cares for thousands of people in the community to help them cope and recover from challenges to their mental health; including people who think about taking their own lives. This is an important campaign with a clear message; about instilling hope in those who are seized by dark despair. Instilling hope is everyone’s collective compassionate responsibility, even if it is something simple yet powerful such as asking someone how they are feeling and if they are ok.”
To view any of the WSPD online events visit //www.startaconversation.co.uk/events