The latest suicides statistics showed that in 2019 there were 5,691 suicides in England and Wales. A number which is tragically still rising.
Every year on Suicide Prevention Day organisations and communities around the world come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide.
This year we’ll be donating 20% of all mental health bookings made on Heka from 6th-10th of September to Samaritans, the leading suicide prevention charity in the UK.
What do Samaritans do?
Every day, Samaritans volunteers respond to around 10,000 calls for help.
Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide. They believe suicide is preventable.
When you're going through a tough time, Samaritans are here to listen. Whoever you are, whatever you're going through, you don’t have to face it alone. Samaritans phone lines and inbox is open for anyone struggling to cope day or night, 365 days a year.
Samaritans provide important media guidelines to make sure people report about suicide respectfully, and support film and television production to portray suicide in a way that won’t be harmful to viewers. They also work with prisons, schools, and the armed forces, as well as working with the government and the digital sector to develop a hub of online excellence in suicide prevention.
Supporting someone in distress
When someone is carrying around worries and difficult feelings, it can feel very lonely. Having someone there to listen can help them work through what’s going on and feel better able to cope. You don’t have to be an expert to help someone open up when something’s up. The fact that you care is what matters.
Here are some tips from Samaritans to help you spot when something might be up, open up a conversation and be a good listener.
1. How to spot when something might be up
These are some of the signs that someone might not be ok:
- Not wanting to do things they usually enjoy.
- Finding everyday things overwhelming.
- Not replying to messages, or being distant.
- Avoiding people or seeming quiet.
- Appearing restless or agitated.
- Easily tearful.
- Drinking or using drugs to cope with feelings
2. How to open up a conversation
Don’t be shy to ask how someone’s feeling:
- Choose a good time, and somewhere without distractions.
- Use open questions that need more than a yes/no answer.
- ‘How are things? I’ve noticed you don’t seem quite yourself.’
- Listen well. ‘How’s that making you feel?’
- Avoid giving your view of what’s wrong, or what they should do.
3. How to be a good listener
Showing you care builds trust to open up:
Make eye contact and put away your phone.
- Focus completely on the other person.
- Pauses are fine, try not to jump in to fill a silence.
- Say back what you think it is they are wanting you to hear.
- Resist putting your own interpretation on it.
- Don’t give up. Sometimes it can take a few tries!
4. How to help someone get more help
Is it feels like the person is really struggling to cope:
- ‘Would you like to get some help?’
- ‘Have you tried your GP?’
- ‘Would you like me to come with you?’
- ‘Did you know you don’t have to be feeling suicidal to call Samaritans?’
- ‘Samaritans is free, 24 hours a day if you’re feeling low or worried too.’
- ‘If it helps, you can talk to me any time.’