Campaign launched to break the silence on suicidePublished Friday, 22nd July 2016
Rotherham Council has today launched the first phase of a suicide prevention campaign in an attempt to encourage men to speak out about suicide.
Supported by South Yorkshire Police, NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH), the campaign aims to get middle aged males talking about their concerns and encourages them to think that no matter how bad things feel, there is hope.
Nationally men aged 45 to 59 had the highest suicide rate in 2014 for the second year in a row . This trend is reflected in Rotherham and that is why the campaign is targeting men to try and 'break the silence on suicide'locally.
Campaign materials carrying the 'Don't let silence kill you' message are being distributed across the borough using various print and online channels to help maximise the reach. In addition there will also be campaign materials encouraging friends and family to spot the warning signs and to speak out about their concerns as many people in suicidal situations just want to feel that they are not alone.
Councillor David Roche, Rotherham Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health said: "We know that the majority of men who take their own lives aren't known to mental health services so we are encouraging anyone who is having suicidal thoughts or feeling the pressure to talk to someone before it is too late. It is vitally important that everyone knows where they can seek help and that friends and family are also encouraged to recognise warning signs so they can also play their vital part in breaking the silence on suicide."
Dr Russell Brynes, GP Lead for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at NHS Rotherham CCG, added: "These days, thankfully, men find it easier to talk about their emotions. However, it is still very worrying that suicide rates, especially among middle aged men, remain disturbingly high. Suicide is not inevitable, it's preventable, and our aim is to spread this message far and wide to as many men as possible.
"Just as there is no one single cause there is no simple cure, but we know that if we help men to access prevention services we can begin to make a difference. This campaign can address some of the issues that hinder men from seeking help, providing hope and encouragement for us all."
People can feel suicidal for any number of reasons which can often relate to stressful life events such as the loss of a job, family breakdown and conflict including divorce, debt, imprisonment and bereavement but for many people, it is the combination of factors which is important rather than one single factor so people are being encouraged to look out for changes in behaviour not just circumstances.
The Rotherham branch of the Samaritans takes 14,000 calls every year from people who are having suicidal thoughts or struggling with their mental health. They are known for helping people through tough times and can help people to explore their options, understand their problems or just be there to listen. They have welcomed this local campaign and they too urge anyone who is suffering to seek help
Christine, Director of Rotherham Samaritans said: "It takes a lot to pick up the phone but the important thing to remember is that we are there to help and don't judge anyone. Chances are you are not alone with what you are going through and we are here. If you're struggling with suicidal thoughts, don't bottle them up. However you feel, whatever life's done to you, talk about it."
Rotherham's suicide prevention group is fully committed to supporting anyone who is at risk of or affected by suicide. This campaign is the first of a series to be rolled out over the next twelve months including a campaign aimed at young people.