Torbay’s Public Health Team is supporting World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday 10 September by asking the residents of Torbay 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.

Cllr Jackie Stockman said: “We need to look out for those who are not coping. Individuals in distress are often not looking for specific advice. Warning signs of suicide can include: hopelessness, rage, acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking, feeling trapped like there’s no way out, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from others, not making eye contact, anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness and dramatic mood changes. Although sometimes there are no warning signs at so it’s always better to check in just in case."

“The listening ear of someone with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgement can help restore hope. We can check in with them, ask them how they are doing and encourage them to tell their story. This small gesture goes a long way.”

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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