Encouraging people to talk about their anxieties and worries, and seek help if they need to, is a key part of efforts to cut suicide rates in Bradford.
It comes as Bradford Council’s public health department looks to raise awareness of the issue as part of World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), which has as its themes ‘Connect. Communicate. Care’
Nationally, men are three times more likely to take their own life than women. They are also less likely to share their problems and seek help for poor mental health Because of this; the Samaritans are promoting the #itsoktotalk hashtag on social media as part of this year’s campaign.
Between 40 and 50 people die each year through suicide in Bradford and the rate of 12.1 deaths per 100,000 people is above the national average.
However, suicide is preventable and it is not an inevitable act: the vast majority of people who do have thoughts about taking their life are able to find help and support, and go on to happier, mentally healthier lives.
If someone does experience suicidal thoughts, they should contact their GP for a conversation about how they can be best supported.
If they feel they are in a crisis, Bradford’s First Response service offers support for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis across the district: 01274 221181. They can also get support from the Samaritans online or by calling 116 123 on any type of phone, a free and totally confidential service.
Cllr Val Slater, deputy leader and portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We can all play our part in helping to improve the mental health of the district.”
“Talking about your mental health isn’t strange or wrong – it’s an important first step in being able to resolve the issues you face and finding help.
“Taking a few minutes to listen to family, friends or work colleagues concerns can really be a significant help which can often guide them find their own solutions.’
Partners across the NHS, council and voluntary sector in Bradford are working on a number of ways suicide can be prevented, and one recommendation they are making is the use of two apps:
The first is an app that can support people who do have suicidal thoughts, with hints, tips, links, a ‘safety plan’ section and a ‘lifebox’ function. It is available on apple and android devices:
If you are contemplating suicide, people who have been in the same position as you in the past have recommended doing three things:
- 1. Waiting. Decide not to do anything right now to hurt yourself. You do not have to act on your thoughts of suicide. Suicidal behaviour is an attempt to solve what feels like an overwhelming set of problems. When we are struggling to cope, our mind closes down on creativity and our problem solving skills become much more limited. Your thoughts and feelings CAN change.
- 2. Talking to someone; it could be a friend or family member, or a support service of some kind. There are people who want to listen and who can help you
- 3. Try to keep yourself safe for now. This might mean: removing planned methods of suicide (or asking someone to help you with this); trying not to be on your own and if possible to be with someone you trust or who knows that you are thinking about suicide; and trying to avoid alcohol or illegal drugs.
(Advice taken from Grassroots Suicide Prevention)