World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 - Don’t be afraid to talk about suicidal thoughts
Main article content
Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday (10 September), Hertfordshire Constabulary is supporting the Samaritans' message of encouraging people not to be afraid to talk about suicidal thoughts and feelings and how to support people they are concerned about.
Every year, organisations and communities around the world come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide.
Suicide is the single biggest killer of people under 25 and every 90 minutes someone in the UK and Ireland take their own life.
Evidence shows that asking someone if they’re suicidal doesn’t make things worse and doesn’t put the idea into their head, it can in fact protect people, as it provides a crucial opportunity to open up, express feelings and encourage them to seek help.
As an emergency service, police regularly respond to incidents where there is a danger to life, including where someone is experiencing mental health crisis.
The constabulary’s Mental Health Co-Ordinator Gemma Purkiss and team member Amy Thorp work with partners in health to help ensure people get the most appropriate support.
Gemma said: “Suicide needs to be discussed even if it feels uncomfortable, our society needs to be more educated on suicide, which is still viewed as a taboo subject, often people will worry that talking about suicide will give someone the idea to try it, but this is not correct.”
She added: “Mental health struggles and suicide prevention should be everyone’s responsibility and we need better awareness of our own mental health but also our children’s mental health because appropriate support can save lives.
“Society talks to children about how to cross the road safely, stranger danger and first aid, but we don’t talk to them about how to talk safely about suicide and how life can throw many challenges towards us where our mental health may struggle. Teaching children valuable knowledge will stay with them into adulthood, they will recognise early signs of anxiety and depression.”
It is recognised that there are small steps we can all take to help ourselves with our own mental health including daily exercise, good nutrition and getting enough sleep. Good physical health is linked with good mental health.
For help and support you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123, call the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust Mental Health helpline on 0800 6444 101 – or 999 if you, or someone you know, intends to take their own life immediately.
For further information and support visit the following websites.