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Read between the lines…and save a life

Posted on 28 Aug 2017
Stop Bottling It Up2

Family and friends are being urged to watch out for the warning signs of suicide and help save the lives of those closest to them.

Last year, 21 people from across North Ayrshire took their own lives, leaving a devastating impact on their families, friends and communities.

Now, ahead of Suicide Prevention Week, running from 4 – 10 September, Choose Life is reminding everyone that by asking people directly about their feelings they could make a huge difference.

As part of their ‘Read Between the Lines’ campaign, residents are being encouraged to take all the signs of distress seriously.

Sarah Watts, Choose Life Co-ordinator in North Ayrshire said: “You tend to know when a friend, family member or colleague isn’t quite themselves.

“If you spot any changes in the behaviour of someone you know that concerns you – even if the signs come and go – you should ask them about it.

“Talking can help a person realise what it is that’s troubling them, and can often give someone a sense of perspective.  You don’t need to have an answer to their problems – just being there for them and showing them that you care can make a really big difference.

“If it feels right, ask the person you are concerned about if they are thinking about suicide. It can often be a big relief for them to open up, speak to someone and acknowledge that they need help.”

Across North Ayrshire, efforts are continuing to take suicide prevention forward and raise awareness of the issue.

Locally, the campaign is supported and funded through North Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership.  And as part of their efforts to get the message out into the community, beer mats are being distributed among local bars and clubs carrying the message ‘Stop Bottling It Up’.  The beer mats detail helpline numbers, websites and apps available to support anyone who is finding it hard to share or talk about how they are feeling.

Over the past year, North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (NAHSCP) has continued to promote the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and the North Ayrshire Choose Life Partnership sits within NAHSCP.

North Ayrshire Choose Life Partnership also works closely with colleagues across East and South Ayrshire and as well as NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Police Scotland and the Third Sector.

The Partnership also supports and works closely with the Penumbra Self-Harm Service to develop new tools and resources for schools, parents and young people to help prevent suicide while also working with the Police and other partners to improve the suicide notification pathway.

For more information about Choose Life and suicide prevention, visit www.chooselife.net

Alternatively, if you are in crisis call Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87, Samaritans on 116 123 or ChildLine on 0800 11 11.

If you have been bereaved by suicide and are looking for support and self-help groups please contact Touched by Suicide Scotland 01294 274273.