Last year, more than 6,000 people took their own lives in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Men are three times more likely to take their own lives compared to women, and suicide remains the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
But suicide is preventable, and help is always out there.
In my previous role, I was Operations Manager of a charity that ran a counselling service supporting carers and those who had suffered a bereavement.
As safeguarding lead for the organisation I worked very closely with the counselling team trying to manage the risks and find ways to support clients. One thing that struck me was how often those at most risk were socially isolated. They had lost their loved one and main confidant, or the person they turned to for support had fallen ill and was unable to provide them the support they needed.
In many cases the counselling was secondary, the chance for human interaction and someone willing to give time was far more valuable than anything else.
Small things like hearing from friends or family, feeling listened to or just being told that ‘it’s OK to talk’ can make a huge difference. Start a conversation today if you think a friend, colleague or family member may be struggling.
When a person reaches a point where they are focused on taking their life, they’ve often lost sight of trying to find a way through their problems. Knowing that they’re not alone can make a huge difference, and being offered a non-judgmental ear to explore options can be enough to move them out of a suicidal crisis.
It can be daunting to approach someone who is struggling to cope. You may not know what to say, how to start a difficult conversation or worry that you’ll make things worse, but doing nothing could be worse.
Often, just asking if someone’s OK and letting them know you’re listening can give people the confidence to open up about how they’re feeling.
Who can help?
Samaritans provides confidential 24-hour support for people when they need it most.
Mind provides advice and support to help anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They also campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
You can call them Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm on 0300 123 3393. You can also text them on 86463.
CALM is a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide. They offer support and campaign to change the cultural barrier preventing men from seeking help.
You can call them between 5pm and midnight, any night of the week, on 0800 58 58 58.
Childline is for anyone under 19. They have trained counsellors on hand to help with any problem, at any time.
You can call them on 0800 1111 at any time. They also have a 1-2-1 counsellor chat online.
This is a service for older people. They offer information and advice and also have a ‘friendship call’ service.
You can contact them 24 hours a day on 0800 470 80 90.
Cruse provides support you after the death of someone close. Cruse offers face-to-face, telephone, email and website support. They have a Freephone national helpline and local services.
You can contact them on 0808 808 1677.