How to save a life

Since 2003, Scotland’s Choose Life Strategy has been raising awareness of the risk of suicide in communities across the country, spreading the message that the best way to save lives from suicide is to talk about it, and Monday, September 5, sees the beginning of this year’s Scottish Suicide Prevention Week.

Last year 781 people lost their lives to suicide in Scotland, 11 were in Argyll and Bute. Thankfully this appears to be part of a downward trend but each of those deaths represents a tragedy to the family, friends and colleagues affected. It is hoped that the days when it wasn’t okay to talk about suicide are coming to an end, because it is now known that the best way to save the life of someone

struggling with thoughts of suicide is to talk about suicide openly and directly.

Thoughts of suicide start when a situation or problem in life comes to feel overwhelming, when it starts to feel that there is no solution and no one to talk to. That problem or feeling might be about job loss, debt, divorce, bereavement, ill health – at some point in most people’s lives there will be a time when facing the day feels unbearable or the solution is just out of grasp. Research shows that asking for and offering help really helps to save lives and that thoughts of suicide can’t be planted in someone’s mind.

But it’s not just those considering suicide that need to talk. Argyll and Bute Choose Life co-ordinator, Tracy Preece says: “My experience of meeting people at Choose Life training sessions and other events is that there is a huge number of people who have lost someone they cared about to suicide and that they want to talk about how that affected them.

“So if you know someone who is struggling with problems you think might lead to thoughts of suicide, or if that person is you – tell someone and tell them soon, it could save a life.

“If you can’t think of who you would tell, use a helpline like Breathing Space or one of the resources in the cut out and keep box below. There are services out there that want to support you in solving the problems that have led you to this place.”

* If you, or someone you know, is having suicidal thoughts, there is help out there in a variety of different forms: Breathing Space - 0800 83 85 87; Samaritans - 08457 909090; Childline - 0800 1111; Women’s Aid - 0870 241 3548; Action on depression - 0845 123 2320; Cruse Bereavement - 0870 1671677; Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide - 0870 214 3337.