If you can read between the lines, you can save lives. That’s the message Choose Life is sending out to people across Scotland to mark national Suicide Prevention Week from September 8 to 12 as part of a public awareness campaign throughout the month.
Despite a 19 per cent reduction in the suicide rate since the 2000–2002 period, the equivalent of around two lives are lost each day in Scotland. 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 tackling this stigma and helping to reduce further unnecessary deaths by raising awareness that if you’re worried about someone, asking directly about their feelings can help save lives.
The campaign acknowledges that signs of suicide can be ambiguous, but encourages people to be alert to the warning signs and take all signs of distress seriously, even if the person seems to be living a normal life. It also aims to assure people that asking a person about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference.
Tracy Preece, Argyll and Bute Choose Life coordinator, said: “The team at Choose life in Argyll continue to be touched and grateful for the support we get from all parts of our community. Our courses continue to be very popular, often oversubscribed. Our conference on September 9 is fully booked and we have distributed over five hundred resource packs, three hundred posters and other resources.
“It feels that Argyll really is committed to being a suicide safer community but there is always more to do. People are still struggling with problems that leave them feeling overwhelmed and alone so need help to prevent suicide becoming an option.’
Alana Atkinson, lead for the national programme for suicide prevention at NHS Health Scotland, said: “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.”
Breathing Space can be contacted on 0800 838587, and the Samaritans on 08457 909090.