A conversation could be all it takes to save a life.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. A day that organisations and communities around the world come together to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

We are supporting World Suicide Prevention Day and are asking residents to take action by checking in with those closest to them and get people talking.

This year’s World Suicide Prevention Day theme is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ which aims to remind people there is an alternative to suicide and that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.

The last 18 months have been hard on everyone, and people are struggling more than ever. In 2019 there were 5,691 suicides registered in England and Wales, with suicide affecting more males than females.

Torbay has one of the highest suicide rates (19 per 100,000) in the United Kingdom, so it’s important that we collectively support people who are struggling.

By trusting our instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, a little small talk and a simple question, such as ‘hello, what’s the time?’ can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts and help set them on the journey to recovery. People are often worried they will say the wrong thing and make a situation worse.

Talking about suicide doesn’t cause suicide. People who have struggled with suicidal thoughts report feeling relieved when someone asked them directly about their intentions. If you’re worried, ask. Explore how they are feeling using open ended questions.

You can view and download the ‘It’s Safe to Talk About Suicide’ leaflet, to understand why it is important to talk to others about suicide and ways to start a conversation.

The leaflet and details of helplines and support, including for those affected by suicide, are available here: Confidential helplines and support

All year-round we work closely with our partners across Devon and Plymouth to reduce suicides, with an increased focus on the prevention of illness, and specifically the prevention of mental ill-health.

Earlier this year the Torbay Suicide and Self-harm Prevention Plan was launched. The plan sets out the priorities for the coming year under five key areas to show how local organisations and groups do and will work in partnership to reduce suicide in the population.

Cllr Jackie Stockman, Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health, said; “Suicide prevention is everybody’s business. By raising awareness, we hope to reduce the stigma around suicide and encourage people to reach out, to speak to someone and get the help they need. A conversation or a smile could make all the difference to someone who is having suicidal thoughts – let’s get people talking Torbay.”

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and want to talk to someone, please contact The Samaritans  on freephone 116 123.

For further information and guidance on looking after your mental health including details of local organisations you can talk to visit on the improve your mood page.

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