Torridge Council promotes It’s OK to Talk message

On World Suicide Prevention Day, Torridge’ s Public Health Team are asking the residents of Torridge to take a minute to check on friends and family and to simply ask how they are ‘actually’ doing.

Taking a minute to reach out to someone in your community – a family member, friend, colleague or even a stranger – could change the course of another person’s life.

People are often reluctant to reach out, for many reasons, including a fear of not knowing what to say. It is important to remember, there is no specific formula. Empathy, compassion, genuine concern, knowledge of resources and services that are available and a desire to help are key to preventing a tragedy.

Another reason that stops people from reaching out is the worry of making the situation worse. This is understandable as suicide is a difficult issue to address but evidence shows that if you ask if someone is having thoughts of suicide – this will not trigger the act, or be the reason that someone completes a suicide. The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress, as opposed to making things worse.

Councillor Philip Hackett – Lead Member for Health Wellbeing and Community Safety said:

“Any initiative aimed at helping people talk more openly about mental health issues and in particular suicide is a step in the right direction. We need to support people who are going through difficult times and as a Council, we have signed up to the pledge to do all we can to prevent suicides and encourage open discussion between people. Residents can help as well by simply reaching out to friends, neighbours or anyone they come across and ask them how they are “actually” doing.

Sadly, suicide has become the most likely cause of death under the age of 50 (higher than cancer or heart disease) and all too often takes the lives of people that are known to us, and whom often seem the least likely of people to take their own life. In our rural community farmers are particularly at risk, as are young people, and even children themselves all too often take their own lives. We all need to try and make a difference in reversing this trend”


Take a minute to:

– Notice what is going on with you, your family, your friends and your colleagues.

– To reach out and start a conversation if you notice something is different. Trust your gut – if someone says they are OK but don’t seem OK – keep trying, quietly and gently.

– To find out what help is available for both you and others.

Across the world, one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide and up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt. There are also many more people who have been bereaved by suicide or have been close to someone who has made an attempt. World Suicide Prevention Day 2018 is about the global community and encouraging people to engage with each other and to join together to spread awareness of suicide prevention.

If you are worried about someone please read the ‘It’s safe to talk about suicide’ leaflet.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts please read the ‘Letter of Hope’ which has been written by people in Devon who have been in a similar situation to you.

Contact the Samaritans website or freephone 116 123.

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