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Choose Life appeals to people in the Highlands : ‘Don’t hide it. Talk about it.’ (08/09/08)
To mark Suicide Prevention Week (8–14 September), Choose Life, Scotland’s national strategy to prevent suicide, is calling on people in the Highlands to help save lives by bringing suicide out into the open with the national campaign ‘Don’t hide it. Talk about it.’ Scotland’s suicide rate is the highest in the UK and suicide is the leading cause of death in those under 35. An average of two people die by suicide in Scotland every day. In the Highlands, 35 people were lost to suicide in 2007.
Choose Life Highland Co-ordinator, Keith Walker, Policy Officer (Health Improvement) with The Highland Council, is calling for people in the Highlands to show their support for the ‘Don’t hide it. Talk about it’ campaign. He said: “The idea that talking about suicide creates or increases the risk of it happening is wrong: serious talk actually reduces the risk. Having the courage to speak out about our own emotions and to listen sensitively to those seeking support can actually help save lives.
“I urge anyone who is feeling suicidal to talk to someone they trust or phone a helpline such as Breathing Space or the Samaritans (see end for contact details); or if you are worried that someone you know is feeling suicidal, don’t be afraid to ask them – it could help to save their life. It is important that people do not hide their feelings, they must talk about them.”
Director of Public Health, Dr. Eric Baijal, added: “This new awareness week is an important opportunity to remind everyone that the majority of people who take their own lives are not in contact with services at the time. There is evidence that shows that telling someone you have had suicidal thoughts can save your life. Call the Samaritans, call your doctor, call a friend and give them a chance to help.”
To find out more about Choose Life’s ‘Don’t hide it. Talk about it.’ campaign, or Suicide Prevention Week, visit www.suicide-prevention.co.uk Choose Life is working with a range of organisations, community groups and individuals throughout the Highlands to help raise awareness of the issue.
Choose Life also offers training to anyone wanting to learn more about how to spot the risk of suicide and signpost people to the right help and support. For information about training opportunities in the Highlands, or for further information and resources, visit www.chooselife.net
If anyone needs to talk about their feelings they can call Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (24hrs) or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 (6pm-2am Mon to Thurs; and 6pm Fri–6am Mon).