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It’s OK to Talk – connecting on World Suicide Prevention Day

Press Release   •   Sep 06, 2017 14:10 BST

Bury Council and the Samaritans Bury are holding a special event on Sunday (10 Sep) to raise awareness of suicide and remember those lost to it.

The key message on this, World Suicide Prevention Day, is #itsoktotalk. Residents are invited to the ‘tea and talk’ event at Samaritans House, Knowsley Street, Bury (2pm to 4pm) which aims to encourage people to talk about the issue and highlight the services that are available to help.

People will also be welcome to fix a ribbon to a ‘memory tree’ in Whitehead Gardens to commemorate Bury people who have died by suicide in the last three years.

Some facts:

  • Bury has on average around 18 suicides per year
  • Levels have remained relatively stable for last ten years
  • The vast majority of suicides are men
  • Factors which can increase the risk of suicidal feelings include social isolation, job loss and financial problems, drug, alcohol and mental health problems

Councillor Andrea Simpson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We have been working hard to address the issue of suicide and have made real progress over the last nine months, but there is still a long way to go. By taking part in World Suicide Prevention Day we are helping to promote both the issue and the positive work which is ongoing.”

Bury has a local suicide prevention group attended by a range of partners, and developed a local action plan with a five priorities:

  • Reducing the risk of suicide in key high risk groups and tailoring approaches to improve mental health in specific groups
  • Reducing access to means of suicide
  • Providing better information and support to those bereaved or affected by suicide
  • Supporting the media in reporting sensitively cases of suicide and suicidal behaviour
  • Supporting ongoing research and data collection

Cllr Simpson added: “Behind the statistics are the individual stories of those who have, for many different reasons, questioned the value of their own lives.

“People who have lived through a suicide attempt have much to teach us about how the words and actions of others are important. They often describe realising that they did not want to die but instead wanted someone to intervene and stop them. Sadly, they often reflect that no one asked.

“As members of communities, it is our responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling, and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Offering a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgemental way can make all the difference, and change the course of their lives.

“Please support us with this campaign by letting people know about Sunday’s ‘tea and talk event’, encourage people to talk to somebody and to join in with others around the world who are working towards the common goal of preventing suicide.”

ENDS

Press release issued: 6 September 2017.