‘Take a minute to change a life’ - Suffolk leaders back suicide prevention campaign

Simply asking someone how they are might be enough to change their life. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Simply asking someone how they are might be enough to change their life. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Archant

As suicide rates across the East of England continue to soar, leaders in Suffolk are urging people to take simple steps to show friends and family who may be struggling that they are not alone.

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Councils cabinet member for health. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Councils cabinet member for health. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Police, council and charity chiefs in the county are reiterating the key message of this World Suicide Prevention Day – take a minute to change a life.

Spearheaded by the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, the campaign encourages people to do something that can have a positive impact on someone’s life, such as asking them how they, making them a hot drink or asking if they want to join you for a walk.

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that although the average suicide rate dropped across Britain last year compared to 2015, in this region it actually went up by 6%.

In 2016, 395 men took their own life in the East of England, compared to 131 women.

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health, said: “Suicide doesn’t just affect the person taking their own life – and research has proven a simple gesture such as asking how someone is can have a hugely positive effect on peoples’ wellbeing.

“A grand gesture isn’t needed – it takes just a few seconds to send a text or boil the kettle. Let’s do all we can to reduce the rates of suicide not only in our county, but across the world as well.”

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Chief Superintendent Jennifer Eves, Suffolk’s county policing commander, said: “Sadly our officers are called to reports of suicide all too often and then have the very difficult role of informing loved ones of their loss.

“Suffolk Police fully supports this campaign to help raise awareness and to decrease the stigmatisation regarding suicide. We urge people to take the time to talk to each other about how they are feeling and to seek help to avert these tragedies from occurring.”

Judy Wright, branch director of Samaritans for Ipswich and East Suffolk, said encouraged people to make use of the charity’s round-the-clock support service if they were feeling low.

She added: “Along with other members of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, Samaritans will be encouraging people to take simple one minute actions to speak to a friend, colleague or family member to find out how they’re feeling.”

For help, call Samaritans any time of the day or night on 116 123.

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