New 'Just Say Hello' suicide prevention film launched

Terry Waite has praised Victoria Panton Bacon's new book. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Terry Waite, 82, speaks on the video - Credit: � ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHI

A new film featuring Suffolk-based former hostage negotiator Terry Waite has been released in a bid to prevent suicide. 

The new multi-agency 'Just Say Hello' campaign is aiming to raise awareness of how a few simple words - either from a loved one or a stranger - can make a difference to someone's mental wellbeing.  

It is suggested that around 75% of people who die by suicide have no contact with mental health services, or even their GP, within the 12 months preceding their death. 

The campaign is striving to get the message across to people in Suffolk that everyone can play their part by reaching out and starting a conversation. 

Mr Waite, 82, who lives in Hartest, near Bury St Edmunds, spent nearly five years in captivity after being captured by Hezbollah in Beirut while on a mission to negotiate the release of several captured Britons - including the journalist John McCarthy. 

He was eventually freed on November 18, 1991, after 1,763 days in solitary confinement. 

Speaking about suicide on the video, he said: "Each year in Suffolk alone, 65 people die this way. And those figures are frankly tragic and unacceptable.” 

The video also features Suffolk Fire and Rescue Officer Sally Hammond, whose brother took his own life in 2016

Suffolk cabinet member for highways Andrew Reid said the parks were entirely necessary given the short time period to the...

Suffolk cabinet member for highways Andrew Reid said the parks were entirely necessary given the short time period to the end of the year. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public health and public protection, said: “The video shows the importance of suicide prevention and how it can affect anyone. Everyone needs to know that suicide is not the only option.

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“We want to help people in Suffolk to feel better prepared to help a person who may be in need. By just saying 'hello', anyone could potentially save someone’s life by making that all important connection with them.”

Anyone wishing to learn more about helping someone who may in need can access free online training from the Zero Suicide Alliance

The Samaritans website also provides more advice on becoming a better listener to support those struggling to cope. 

Suffolk County Council said more ‘Just Say Hello’ campaign films will be available over the next coming weeks by suicide liaison workers Annabelle Bennett and Chelsea Thorpe speaking on the new service available throughout Suffolk and Northeast Essex.

The Suffolk and North East Essex bereaved by suicide service provides emotional and practical support to people of all ages. Contact the service by calling 01473 322683 or by email

If you or someone you know is in mental health crisis and requires serious or life-threatening emergency mental or physical care, dial 999 immediately.