This week across the globe is Suicide Prevention Week.
There are some really concerning statistics surrounding suicide. Suicide is the single biggest cause of death in men aged 20 – 45 in the UK. The suicide rate in Scotland is around 5 times that in England and Wales. Although suicide affects men more than women, in 2013 still 1375 women committed suicide in the UK.
So, what should you do if you are concerned about someone, and have fears that they may be thinking about taking their own life? Taken from NHS Scotland's Choose Life website, they suggest that you:
- Take all signs of distress seriously, even if the person seems to be living a normal life.
- Ask the person about what’s troubling them.
- Listen carefully to what they have to say.
- Let them know you care.
What should you do if you're feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts?
The most important thing is to not try to deal with it alone.
It's understandable that you feel you can't talk to your family, or you may not have any friends you consider close enough to confide in, and going to the doctor and admitting you are having these thoughts can be a really intimidating thought - and not all doctors are the most helpful.
But there are always other options out there.
There are many very good helplines you can call. You can be anonymous. No judgemental looks or worried faces to have to deal with. You can just call up the number and speak to someone who understands what you're going through, and knows how to help. Let's go through the numbers and see which one is best for you.
Breathing Space - A service that puts you through to qualified counsellors who will help you work through your thoughts. They are open 6pm - 2am Monday - Thursday, and 24 hours at the weekend. Their number is 0800 83 85 87. This is a free phone number, it will not cost you anything, and it will not show up on phone bills.
The Samaritans - Probably the most well known helpline. They are open 24/7, even on Christmas. Their number is 08457 90 90 90. Calls will cost 2p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) - CALM focuses more on men and makes a point of explaining that it is a completely anonymous service. Not only can you phone them on 0800 585858 every day from 5pm-midnight, you can also contact them via online chat on their website.
Papyrus - This charity focuses on preventing young suicide. Their services are aimed at those under 35 years old. Their number is 0800 068 41 41 and this is open from 10am - 10pm weekdays, 2pm - 10pm weekends and 2pm - 5pm on bank holidays. Again, this number is free to call and won't show up on phone bills.
All these helplines will listen to you, give you support and advise you on where to go next.