As Suicide Prevention Week ends (September 15), local residents are being urged to “read between the lines” to save lives.
The message comes from the Choose Life campaign, which works to help people recognise the signs that a family member or friend could be considering suicide. Last year 19 people in North Ayrshire took their own lives.
A Choose Life spokesperson said, “The message is, if you’re worried about someone, ask them directly about their feelings. The signs of suicide can be hard to identify, but this campaign encourages people to take them all seriously, even if the person seems to be living a normal life. It also aims to assure people that asking a person about things that are troubling them can make a positive difference.”
Supporting the campaign, Cllr Anthea Dickson, North Ayrshire Council’s SNP Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said, “Choose Life is urging us all to look for any changes in the behaviour of family and friends that causes concern.
“They believe asking people what’s wrong can help get clarity about what it is that’s troubling them. You don’t need to have an answer to their problems – just be there for them, try to listen carefully without judging, and show that you care.”
The Choose Life spokesperson added, “If it feels right, ask if they’re thinking about suicide. It will not put the thought in their head if it wasn’t there before, but it can be a big relief for them to be able to say, ‘yes, I am’ and acknowledge they need help.”
Anyone who may experience thoughts about taking their own life is urged to talk to a family member of friend. Alternatively, help and support is available by calling the Samaritans on 08457 909090 or Breathing Space on 0800 838587.
Support is also available for those who have been bereaved by suicide. ‘Touched by Suicide Scotland’ holds group meetings in Largs and Kilbirnie, and can be contacted on 01294 274273 or 01294 216895.