New suicide prevention guide launched to support people in north east

People considering taking their own life should seek help and those concerned for another should act, three Scottish organisations have urged, as they launched a new guide to help those worried that someone in their life is suicidal.

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), NHS Grampian and Police Scotland made the plea on Monday as concerns grow about the impact of the pandemic and their associated restrictions on people’s mental health.

The north-east organisations are working together to share information and resources, and have now produced a guide to help anyone worried that someone in their life is suicidal – with advice on how to ask the question to how to get them the right support.

Paul Southworth, public health consultant at NHS Grampian, said: “There is no harm at all in asking if someone is feeling suicidal, it does not put that thought into their head.

“Studies have shown people are less likely to make an attempt on their life if they can talk about their thoughts and feelings.”

And Liam Yule, suicide prevention manager and north-east suicide prevention lead at SAMH, said it was “vitally important that we continue the conversation about suicide and suicide prevention”.

The new guide has also been added to the Prevent Suicide App, and Mr Yule said the three organisations were building a “source of useful tips and hints and ways to start a conversation about suicide” alongside information about services available to support those with thoughts of taking their own life.

And as part of the focus on suicide prevention, police officers in the north-east have have received additional training on factors that may point to a person being at a higher risk of attempting suicide.

Chief inspector Darren Bruce, from Police Scotland’s North East Division, said: “It’s really encouraging that there is a great deal of messaging out there for people experiencing difficulties and mental health issues.

“However, what is equally important is that there are mechanisms in place to support those around someone who they feel may be struggling so they know what help to offer.”

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