“If you can read between the lines, you can save lives”. That's the message ‘Choose Life’ is sending out to Three Towns residents for Suicide Prevention Week, which runs from September 8th-12th.
Despite a 19% reduction in the suicide rate since 2002, around two lives are still lost each day in Scotland. A Choose Life spokesperson said, “For each suicide, the impact on those left behind lasts a lifetime. The idea that suicide shouldn't be talked about is a remaining taboo and doesn't help those grieving or the many people who may be feeling suicidal right now.”
Choose Life’s 'Read between the lines' campaign is aimed at tackling the stigma around suicide and helping to further reduce unnecessary deaths by raising awareness that if a person is worried about someone, asking directly about their feelings can help save lives.
The campaign acknowledges that signs of potential suicide can be ambiguous, but encourages people to be alert and to take seriously all signs of distress, even if the person seems to be living a normal life. Asking a person about what is troubling them has been proven to make a positive difference.
Alana Atkinson, Lead for the National Programme for Suicide Prevention at NHS Scotland, explained, “It is difficult to take something positive out of a situation where people find their personal circumstances so desperate they feel compelled to take their own lives. However, we are continuing to see a reduction in the number of people who have died by suicide in Scotland.
"In saying that, it is vital that to address the complex and challenging issue of suicide, everyone needs to work together. We all have a role to play in reducing the number of preventable deaths by suicide."
Ms Atkinson said the campaign encourages people to be aware of any signs that someone they know isn't quite themselves or if they notice any changes in their behaviour that causes concern,” adding, “It also lets them know where they can get help from our partners, Breathing Space and Samaritans."
The campaign hopes to reach men and women who are likely to be in greatest contact with people most at risk of suicide. Statistics show that around three-quarters of suicides have been men in every year since 1990 and that males between the ages of 30 and 59 are most likely to take their own lives.
Help and advice is available by calling Breathing Space on 0800 838587 or Samaritans on 08457 909090, or by visiting the Choose Life website.