On World Suicide Prevention Day (Friday 10th), Chris Allen from WCR FM radio centred his show around this incredibly-important issue, inviting on a number of expert guests including our very own Wellbeing Manager Kerry B Mitchell.
Kerry and Chris chatted about some of the statistics around suicide, for example did you know that in 2020 there were sadly 4,912 people who died by suicide in England? This equates to 13 people every single day.
Some of the key takeaway tips from the interview (which you can listen to in full here – Kerry’s on from 42 minutes, but do have a listen to the other brilliant guests and Chris’ fantastic show if you have time!) were:
- Stepping in to support someone you’re concerned about is essential to making a difference.
- Everyone (in particular men who are at three times more likely to end their life) needs to be open to talking about emotions and feelings – and asking others how they are.
- Make ‘how are you’ a genuine question rather than a throw-away phrase at the start of a conversation.
- You can signpost to brilliant organisations such as Samaritans (via their website or 116 123), Papyrus if they’re under 35 (their helpline can be reached on 0800 068 4141), and MIND, as well as their friends and family.
Talking about the worries some people have about bringing up the issue, Kerry said:
“If you ask somebody if they’re suicidal, will that encourage them to end their lives? The opposite is true – if you ask directly, it often reduces the distress and can act as a deterrent. The question can allow the person to really talk about what they’re experiencing.”
Chris agreed, stating:
“We need to be brave enough to intervene.”
Then in summary, Kerry said:
“Mental health doesn’t discriminate. The myth is that suicide happens more among certain classes of people – absolutely not. We’re all equally at risk of suicidal thoughts or suicide. It’s about giving that person hope for the future.”
If you’d like to find out more about supporting employees or colleagues with their wellbeing, including those who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, information about Kerry’s Mental Health First Aid training is available here 💻
And please remember, if you or someone you know needs emergency support in a crisis, always call 999.
Thank you to Chris and WCR FM for making time to discuss this important issue 🧡