See the signs, save a life
6 September 2018
A mental health campaign to raise awareness about the warning signs when people are thinking of taking their own life is being expanded across Bedfordshire and Luton on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September.)
Local councils, the NHS and charities are working together through the 'See the Signs, Save a Life' campaign to help the public to recognise when people they know might be struggling with suicidal thoughts and what action to take to support them.
The initiative is already established in Milton Keynes and is being launched in Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton.
Acknowledging that 1 in 5 of us will experience suicidal thoughts some time in their life, the campaign group is offering presentations, training and printed resources to the local community on the signs of suicide risk.
The event on 10 September (1pm – 5pm), is called Working Together to Prevent Suicide. It is a free community event for community organisations and the public to find out the signs of suicide risk and to share information on how local services are working together to prevent suicide. It will be held at the Forest Centre in Marston Moretaine.
Organised by the Bedfordshire and Luton Suicide Prevention Campaign group, it includes free drop-in sessions, including one for supporting young people specifically, and you can speak to representatives from the Samaritans, MIND BLMK, Public Health teams from the councils, East London Foundation Trust (mental health services), CHUMS Children and Young People Emotional Wellbeing Services, The Forum and Penrose.
The ‘See the Signs, Save a Life’ campaign has been launched to support and expand on the Samaritans national ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign aimed at empowering the public to act to prevent suicide on the railways.
It focuses on the signs to look out for and what you can do to help. It also encourages the community not to be afraid to ask directly about suicide.
Although some people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts may not show any signs, some of the warning signs might include:
- talking or complaining of feelings hopeless and that life is not worth living
- talking about feeling trapped, such as saying they can’t see any way out of their current situation
- saying that friends and family would be better off without them
- talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
- a sudden lift in mood after a period of severe depression
- looking into methods or the means to end their own life
- putting all their affairs in order, such as sorting out possessions or making a will
- saying that they can hear voices telling them to end their own life
If you notice any of these signs in someone then encourage them to talk about their feelings; then direct them towards the different sources of help available like the Samaritans. If you are experiencing these feelings yourself or have serious concerns for someone else, you should seek urgent professional help from your GP or by calling 999.
Dr Marianne Vinson Public Health Principal, Mental Health and Workplace said: "Suicidal thoughts affect 1 in 5 of us in our lifetime but most people don’t go on to take their life because of a successful intervention; which can start with something as simple as asking someone how they feel. It is important to see the signs early and take action. There are lots of ways to get help and support and we hope this campaign increases awareness and people’s confidence to raise and discuss this important issue."
Councillor Brian Spurr, our Executive Member for Health added: "As communities and individuals, we need to learn to recognise the signs when someone is feeling at their lowest and understand how we can help; it is possible to make a real difference in another person’s life by having the courage to start a conversation."
You can also contact Bedford Samaritans on: 01234 211211 or Luton, South Beds and Harpenden Samaritans on: 01582 720666.