Suicide prevention scheme urges Falkirk district residents to help others

Picture: NHS Scotland
Picture: NHS Scotland

Falkirk district residents are being called upon to support others as part of Suicide Prevention Week.

Last year, 40 people across the Forth Valley area took their own lives.

The theme for Suicide Prevention Week 2019, which runs from today until Friday, September 13, is Working Together to Prevent Suicide.

The NHS says it is aiming to meet its target of reducing the Scottish suicide rate by 20 per cent by 2022 by developing and strengthening greater collaboration at national, local and individual levels.

As part of the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan, NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland have worked together to develop an online resource entitled Ask Tell Save a Life: Every Life Matters.

Its aim is to raise awareness of the issues that affect people and which can sometimes lead to individuals taking their own life.

The animation, which can be accessed here, is designed to encourage individuals to support anyone in distress by directing them to specialist help.

The campaign acknowledges that signs of suicide can be difficult to spot, but encourages people to take all signs of distress seriously, even if it seems a person is living a normal life.

It also assures people that asking someone about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference.

Fiona Macfarlane, NHS Forth Valley senior health promotion officer, said: “If someone you are close to shows signs of not being themselves, you will normally notice.

“When changes in their behaviour begin to worry you — even if the signs come and go — the most important aspect is to ask them about it.

“Talking openly about their feelings can help a person get clarity about what is troubling them.

“Starting this conversation helps them gain a perspective on their distress.

“You don’t need to have a solution to their problems — being there for them and listening, without judgement, shows that you care and their distress, and ultimately their happiness, is important to you.”

Ms Macfarlane added: “Ask if they are thinking about suicide.

“It won’t put the thought into their head if it wasn’t there before, but it can be a big relief for them to be able to open up fully and acknowledge they need help and support.

“By taking the time to show you care and are there to listen, you could change their life.”

For more information on what to do if you are worried someone is feeling suicidal, visit www.nhsinform.scot/suicide.