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Suicide prevention efforts ramp up in Scotland amid mental health worries

Public services in the northeast of Scotland are joining forces to urge anyone with suicidal thoughts to come forward and volunteer for help.

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), NHS Grampian, and Police Scotland are aiming to better serve their local communities by sharing information and resources, as the most turbulent two years in a generation continues to take its toll.

In view of this, the organisations have launched a new guide designed to help support anyone who is particularly worried that someone they know is having suicidal thoughts. The guide details everything from how to ask if they’re feeling alright, to how to get the right support.

Liam Yule, suicide prevention manager and north-east suicide prevention lead at SAMH, said: “It has been an incredibly challenging couple of years and everyone has seen their ‘normal’ routine significantly impacted. It’s vitally important that we continue the conversation about suicide and suicide prevention.

“We’re working together as we believe this, alongside increased community engagement and training will help encourage people to be more open about suicide, building suicide safer communities throughout the region.

“With the new guide added to the Prevent Suicide App, we’re building up a comprehensive source of useful tips and hints and ways to start a conversation about suicide, alongside information on some of the fantastic local services available to support those with thoughts of suicide.”

The group have also warned that whilst it is a popular and long-standing myth that asking someone if they are having suicidal thoughts increases the likelihood of them following through, this is inaccurate, in fact not only is it said to be harmless, but health professionals also say there is evidence to suggest that encouraging people to open up deceases their chances of attempting to take their own life.

Paul Southworth, public health consultant at NHS Grampian, added: “There is no harm at all in asking if someone is feeling suicidal, it does not put that thought into their head - studies have shown people are less likely to make an attempt on their life if they can talk about their thoughts and feelings.

“As we have found from engaging with those in our communities, suicide can affect anyone from any walk of life. That means suicide prevention is everyone’s business and the more it is highlighted and talked about the more effective it will be.”

To download the Prevent Suicide app and access the new guide, click here.

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NHE May/June 2024

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