Talk about it – it’s the only way. Use your head and open your mouth on World Suicide Prevention

The topic for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday 10 September is ‘Stigma – a major barrier for suicide prevention’. It reminds us that one of the biggest obstacles to people getting help with their problems is attitudes and fear, not that there isn’t help available. In the course of a year, 1 in 4 people will suffer from some kind of mental health issue, therefore feeling down, having mental health problems or just needing some help should no longer be a taboo subject.

Talking to friends or family about how you are feeling is always easier than you imagine. Often we bottle things up or hide the truth from others in an attempt to protect them, but this can sometimes make feelings and situations worse. Talking about it and getting support and understanding could really help you work things through and maybe find some solutions that you didn’t know about or think possible. According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the world with someone taking their own life every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to murder and war combined. Given the high numbers who tragically lose their life through suicide it is important for everyone to act to help those who may be in distress or despair. The Northern Health and Social Care Trust is using World Suicide Prevention Day to encourage people to get help and to raise awareness of the services available.

Lifeline, Northern Ireland’s confidential crisis helpline supports individuals and families suffering distress or despair and can be contacted on 0808 808 8000. Lifeline counsellors are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week to listen and give help and advice.

A range of information and other support services are also available:

The Northern Trust and Public Health Agency ‘Minding Your Head’ websites give mental health advice and details of a range of support services available and
Samaritans helpline provides a listening ear for those in distress. Tel: 0845 7909 090
Debt Action can provide help and support for anyone with financial difficulties. Tel: 0800 917 4607 or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau
Aware Defeat Depression offers a range of support services for those with depression. Tel: 0845 120 2961
CRUSE Bereavement Support is available for adults and children after a bereavement. Tel: 0844 477 9400
Domestic Violence Helpline is there for anyone affected by domestic abuse, men and women. Tel: 0800 917 1414
The Northern Trust Bereaved by Suicide Support Project helps support people bereaved through suicide by offering a counselling service and support groups. Tel: 028 2563 6607.
If your family relationships are impacted by alcohol misuse either directly or indirectly and you would like to access counselling or debt/benefit advice, contact RelateNI on 028 9026 0884 or email You can also get help from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
The Northern Trust offers a range of training and awareness courses on how to help improve your own mental health, that of someone else and how to access support in the community. Other courses aim to improve knowledge and skills to help someone who is thinking about suicide, to keep them safe and find appropriate support. Courses are open to anybody but are particularly suitable for carers and groups of people in workplaces. For more information contact the Health Improvement Team on 028 2563 6600.

If you are having a hard time please talk to someone you trust or contact one of the support services above. If you have a friend or family member going through a tough time – ask them how they are feeling and let them know you are there for them or let them know about the services available. No one has to suffer alone – help is always available, no matter what your situation is.

9th September 2013

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