World Suicide Prevention Day – a day of hope

Action Mental Health today (September 10) joins the annual World Suicide Prevention Day campaign which this year focuses on the message of ‘Creating Hope Through Action’. The theme carries a message of hope and aims to encourage us to consider that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.

This year’s campaign, organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), tells us that through our individual actions, we can all make a difference to someone in their darkest moments – whether our child, a parent, a friend, a colleague or a neighbour. We can also play a role in supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide.

The annual event is an opportunity to showcase the host of programmes and projects Action Mental Health provides in the area of mental ill health prevention, education, suicide, self-harm prevention and early intervention and strives tirelessly with partners to raise awareness.

AMH Works is one such service which provides quality mental health training programmes for employers to support healthy, resilient workplaces.  AMH Works develops the skills and learning required to effectively manage employee mental well-being in the workplace and next week (September 20) delivers an online Safetalk session. SafeTalk, for the over 16s, is a certified training programme that prepares people to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources.

AMH MensSana is a service within Action Mental Heath, which, in partnership with PIPS Hope & Support operates the Southern Area Protect Life Resource Service. This service provides an outreach community development service with a particular focus on promoting positive mental health and the prevention of suicide and self harm through the community development approaches.

Another arm of Action Mental Health, AMH everyBody aims to promote greater understanding and awareness of eating disorders, considering the fact taht suicide is a major cause of death among those living with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. AMH everyBODY is part of the Southern Area Protect Life Forum.

Action Mental Health has long campaigned for greater investment in mental health services and welcomed the Health’s Minister’s recent Mental Health Strategy for Northern Ireland which will work in tandem with the Protect Life 2 Strategy to prevent suicide and self-harm, to ensure what the minister described as ‘synchronized service delivery’. Integral to the delivery are a Multi Agency Triage Team, Lifeline, Towards Zero Suicide programme, bereavement
support services, self harm services and stigma reduction. It follows the unveiling of the Suicide Prevention Strategy for Northern Ireland in 2019, launched in light of suicide statistics in Northern Ireland which show:

  • Three times as many people die by suicide in Northern Ireland each year than are killed in road traffic collisions
  • A total of 219,000 people have been directly affected by suicide since 2005
  • More than 70% of people who die by suicide are not known to mental health services
  • 10% of 15/16 year olds have self-harmed at some stage

For those struggling and in need of someone to talk to contact Lifeline 0808 808 8000 or the Samaritans 116 123. If you are in the Southern Trust area you can contact AMH MensSana’s Protect Life Service, 028 3839 2314 or email [email protected].

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