The theme for World Suicide Prevention Day this year (10 September 2020) is Working Together to Prevent Suicide. Suicide is a distressing topic to talk about, even when you are not the one experiencing the feelings. It is estimated that 800,000 people worldwide die by suicide every year. It is also thought that attempted suicides are between 10 and 20 times greater than this number.

The below information aims to help you help those in crisis.

About 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems each year, so most of us will know someone who has struggled with their mental health. Every Mind Matters has clear and helpful advice on understanding how to help someone. You might worry that you do not know the best way to help or will say something wrong and make things worse. Just telling them you see their struggle can be important help. People can be afraid to let others know they are not coping but being able to connect with others can be a relief.

Whether you are concerned for someone else, or in need of support yourself, has been launched to provide support for those in need. As well as knowing where to go for help, it is also important to know what to look out for if you are worried about someone – Be alert, be honest, listen, and get them help if required. There is a range of help and useful advice available.

People think about suicide for different reasons, and signs that something is wrong can sometimes be more difficult to spot. Such as a cheeriness which may seem fake to you. Or they may joke about their emotions. Don’t ignore your gut feeling if you are concerned about someone. The NHS website has a list of resources on getting help for suicidal thoughts, including Rethink Mental Illness which looks specifically at why someone might think about suicide and how you can help them. It also looks at support for you.

The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) are exploring ‘connection’ on this World Suicide Prevention Day. They are helping us all think about how we can reach out and offer connection, helping ourselves and others who may be struggling. They have a range of ideas on ways of connecting – from nature and the arts, and with our neighbours and communities.

Even though our libraries are currently operating at limited capacity, you can still access support to look after yours and others health and wellbeing. There is a list of our librarians recommended online reading available.

If you work in a professional setting and are looking for resources and guidance to help in your area, Public Health England (PHE) have a page of resources. They support the view that everyone, irrespective of where they live, should have the opportunity to achieve good mental health and wellbeing.

Take care of yourself, too

If you are having thoughts of suicide, are harming yourself or have thought about self-harm, it’s important to tell someone. You may find it helpful to discuss things with a friend or confidential service like the Sussex Mental Healthline.

These thoughts and feelings can be complex, frightening and confusing, but you do not have to struggle alone.

If you cannot wait to see a doctor and feel unable to cope or keep yourself safe there is immediate confidential help available:

Call the Samaritans free on 116 123

Text “SHOUT” to 85258

Or dial 999 if in a life-threatening situation

See further NHS advice on dealing with a mental health crisis or emergency.