World Suicide Prevention Day!

World Suicide Prevention Day!

Published on Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Posted in News

World Suicide Prevention Day!


The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented!

NI: The Department of Health has published the Protect Life 2: A Strategy for Suicide Prevention in the north of Ireland. Read here

Suicide affects all of us. Many people will either know someone who has taken their own life or perhaps know somebody who has lost a loved one due to suicide. 

It is hard to write out statistics because behind every number is a personal story, journey, and a family and community that have been devastated by the loss of someone they love. However, to understand the critical need of our country’s mental health being prioritized we must recognise the severity of our loss. In addition to this knowledge, we also need to know who is most at risk so that specific help and services can be offered to those people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that every 40 seconds someone takes their own life, that’s around 800,000 every year worldwide. Official reporting states that Northern Ireland has the highest rate of suicide within the UK, with 305 in 2017; 234 male and 71 female. We know from these numbers that suicide is more prominent with males in Northern Ireland aged between 45 - 49. However, we are also aware that suicide is the leading cause of death amongst our young people and that these numbers do not include attempts of suicide. 

What can we do today? 

Awareness leads to action. – spreading awareness of mental health will help break down the stigma surrounding it so that more people feel they can open up and talk about what is going on inside their minds. We all have mental health. It should be talked about as much as physical health so that people no longer feel like they will be viewed as weak or vulnerable when voicing when they are struggling. If you had a physical ailment you would immediately seek help from your GP. Mental health issues should be dealt with in the same urgency. If we raise more awareness we can create a culture that isn’t afraid to ask for help, and we can promote the services available in Northern Ireland so that people know where to go to get that help. Start conversations with friends and work colleagues normalising this topic. It is ok to not feel ok, just talk about it.

Reach out to someone you think might be struggling. – Mental ill health can isolate someone and cause loneliness. You don’t have to have all the answers, and sometimes it’s best not to try too, but simply listening to someone who is low in mood and being there for them. Showing them that you love them and how much they mean to you is the best that you can do for them. Try and see if they might like a walk to get outdoors and if they don’t then go to them and sit with them for a while. 

Take care of your mind. – Most of us struggle with bad thoughts, we can be so self-critical and see ourselves in the opposite light that our friends and family see us. We can even assume that others are seeing us in the same bad light when in fact they are not. Take notice of those thoughts and practice not listening to them. Speak out loud or write out the things that you like about yourself starting with ‘I’m ok because…’. And if you are struggling then seek help. Talk to a friend so you know you are not alone in this type of thinking. Add some of the good stuff back into your life, things you used to enjoy but have stopped doing, start by adding one of those things back in your daily routine. 

What does AWARE offer? – We are the depression charity for Northern Ireland. Our focus is to promote positive mental health and wellbeing of all ages of the population. We have a range of services that assist in the prevention and early intervention of mental ill-health as well as offer support for those in their recovery.  We want to encourage people to talk about the things that are troubling them, and therefore we offer 25 free-to-attend support groups that are available around the country, that are peer-led, run by a trained volunteer, where people can come and meet with others on a similar journey. To find comfort in the fact that you are not alone, and that there are people that understand and can discuss with you ways to move forward. We provide Living Life to the Full courses that are CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) centred group programmes that can help you learn how to challenge bad thinking patterns and to practice a healthier mind-set. We also provide mental health first aid training, so that workplaces and schools have people that can be a support to those that are in crisis. We also are continuously spreading awareness of mental health in Northern Ireland to reduce stigma and to encourage people to feel freedom to open up about the journey they are on and to seek help.

What support is there in Northern Ireland for Crisis Intervention? As AWARE is not a crisis intervention charity here is a list of ones that do specialise in this area:

Lifeline – 0808 808 8000 (24-hour support for those in distress or despair.)

Samaritans helpline: 116 123 (Listening ear to those in distress)

Extern – 0800 085 4808 (Family support, suicide prevention service, and crisis response.)

LIGHTHOUSE – 028 9075 5070 offers support and help for those affected by suicide. 

New Life Counselling – 02890 391630 – Counselling support for individuals and families on a range of issues. 

PIPS Belfast – 028 9080 5850 Support to those who have been affected by suicide or considering it. 

We would also like to encourage you to seek help from your local GP.

* Whatever you are facing, you can get through it with a little help. There is hope! You are worth more than you will ever know and there are so many people here in Northern Ireland that would love to help you! Reach out to them!*

Tags: AWARE | Depression | Mental Health | northern ireland | suicide | world suicide prevention day