Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month offers an opportunity to bring our awareness to the issue, stigma and terrifying statistics attached to suicide in Northern Ireland and the UK. Of course these concerns exist each day of the year but with a theme of ‘Creating Hope Through Action’, we’d like to use this month to commit our team to talking, sharing resources and bringing our focus to suicide prevention locally.
Facts that matter
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 and is also attributed to the highest death rate in under 35s across the UK. Suicides among teenage girls and young women have almost doubled in recent years and statistics show that 1 in 5 of us will think about suicide in our lifetime. These figures may be shocking but they make it clear that suicide prevention and awareness is something that we should all be proactive about.
There are key risk factors linked to an increased risk of suicide including difficult life events, money problems, misuse of drugs and alcohol, being a young person, being a middle aged man and living with mental health problems or depression. LGBTQI+ organisation Stonewall also reports that 46% of trans individuals have thoughts of taking their own lives. Often people find it impossible to talk about their feelings and may feel stigmatised by the perceptions surrounding suicide but the scope of challenges facing many people make it essential that we redouble our efforts to be compassionate to those in our lives and to be informed when it comes to how we might be able to help.
Myths that matter
Among the important things to learn, there are a few to set aside too. It’s a myth that you have to suffer from poor mental health to be at risk of suicidal thoughts. Yes, having a mental health condition may make you more at risk but it’s not a prerequisite for suffering with suicidal feelings. Equally, talking about suicide doesn’t mean you’re more at risk of suicidal thoughts. And what we think is vital to underline is that suicidal thoughts do not mean your path is set, there is always something you can do to help someone who is considering suicide.
Suicidal thoughts can be complex, frightening and especially lonely so we hope that by starting a conversation in our office and within our teams that we’re opening up the opportunity to encourage everyone to listen and speak out in whatever way they might need .
Helpful resources that matter
We’ve gathered up some resources that we’ve found helpful or would like to share relating to these issues.
The first is a short film ‘Stay Alive’ by Clare Dwyer Hogg starring Stephen Rea, Emmet Kirwan, Lisa Dwyer Hogg & Jeanne Nicole Ni Aisle. Raising awareness of suicide, we found this a hugely powerful and impacting watch.
For awareness and support groups as well as resources that can inform and support us all: