The World Health Organisation estimates that over 800,000 people take their own life each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. Up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt.
Suicide and Safeguarding – Suicide is not inevitable and preventing it is everyone’s responsibility.
Talk to your line manager about any concerns you have that someone you are working with may be suicidal.
STOP Suicide is an award-winning suicide prevention campaign that seeks to empower communities and individuals across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help stop suicides by being alert to the warning signs, asking directly about suicide and helping those who are feeling suicidal to stay safe.
This campaign started life as an NHS England-funded pilot and is now continuing via other funding streams. It is led by the charities Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind (CPSL Mind) and Lifecraft, supported by local NHS and Public Health teams.
It involves general awareness raising about suicide, specialist training for non-mental health professionals working / volunteering within our communities and a public campaign to encourage sign up to the STOP Suicide Pledge for organisations and individuals.
Suicide is everybody’s business. Please work with us to make Cambridgeshire and Peterborough a suicide-safer community.
Suicidal feelings can range from being preoccupied by abstract thoughts about ending your life or feeling that people would be better off without you, to thinking about methods of suicide or making clear plans to take your own life.
The type of suicidal feelings people have varies person to person, in particular in terms of:
- how intense they are — suicidal feelings are more overwhelming for some people than others. They can build up gradually or be intense from the start. They can be more or less severe at different times and may change quickly.
- how long they last — suicidal feelings sometimes pass quickly, but may still be very intense. They may come and go, or last for a long time.
Many people find it very hard to talk about suicidal feelings — this can be because they are worried about how others will react or because they cannot find the words. They might hide how they are feeling and convince friends or family that they are coping.
The NHS Choices website has a list of warning signs that you could notice, but there might not be any signs or you might not be able to tell. Correctly interpreting how someone else is feeling can be difficult so it’s very important not to blame yourself if you aren’t able to spot the signs that someone is feeling suicidal.
Anyone can have suicidal feelings, whatever their background or situation in life. Suicidal feelings have a wide range of possible causes. (See the information on suicidal feelings for more about possible causes.) They can be a symptom of an existing mental health problem or episode of mental distress, or sometimes a side effect of psychiatric or other medication. When someone is feeling suicidal it is important to be aware of any medications they are taking which might be causing or aggravating these feelings.
To find out more about side effects of specific medications talk to your GP or contact NHS direct on 111 (for England) or 0845 46 47 (for Wales).
Some people can say why they feel suicidal, but in other instances there may not be a clear reason, or they may be unable to talk about what they are feeling or experiencing.
If someone feels suicidal, their feelings may become more intense if they:
- drink alcohol
- use street drugs
- have sleep problems
Studies show that some groups experience higher rates of suicide than others. Statistics show that men, for example, and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer (LGBTQ) are more likely to take their own lives. People can also be more vulnerable to suicide if:
- they have attempted suicide before— if someone has previously tried to end their life, there is a greater than average chance they may try to do so again in future
- they have self-harmed in the past— self-harm isn’t the same as feeling suicidal, but statistics show that someone who has self-harmed will also be more at risk of suicide
- they have lost someone to suicide— people who have been bereaved by suicide are also more at risk of taking their own lives
Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, has signed up to the National Zero Suicide Alliance as part of the ambition towards zero suicide and would like to encourage all staff to take free online suicide prevention training.
Co-founded by Cambridgeshire man Steve Mallen, whose son Edward took his own life in 2015, the Zero Suicide Alliance is a collaborative of National Health Service Trusts, businesses, and individuals who are all committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond.
Why is the number zero so important?
The concept of zero suicide is inspired by the Henry Ford system in Detroit, which began a programme of screening every patient for risk of suicide, not just those with mental health issues, in 2001 and enjoyed significant results. The suicide rate among its patient population fell by 75% within four years and by 2008, they eliminated all suicides among people in their care.
The alliance is ultimately concerned with improving support for people contemplating suicide by raising awareness of and promoting FREE suicide prevention training which is accessible to all. The aims of this training are to: enable people to identify when someone is presenting with suicidal thoughts/behaviour, to be able to speak out in a supportive manner, and to empower them to signpost the individual to the correct services or support. It can be used by the public as much as professionals.
The training only takes 20 minutes to complete – but be warned the training may be challenging, especially if you are a suicide survivor or have been bereaved by suicide. It may be an idea to have someone supportive nearby as you go through this training.
You can also access free resources, download posters, email banners, screen savers and other campaign materials to help spread the word: https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/resources/
For those that have had their lives affected by suicide there is a Suicide Bereavement Support Service offered by Lifecraft:
Suicide represents an individual tragedy and a loss to society. The impact on those left behind can be devastating. Evidence suggests that early intervention support can benefit individuals in the grieving process. Lifecraft aims to ensure information and access to support is available to those bereaved by suicide.
The loss of a loved one to suicide is a uniquely devastating circumstance that leaves the bereaved with unanswered questions and complex feelings that can be hard to understand and process, our service at Lifecraft understands this and is here to offer help and support.
The suicide bereavement support service is available to family and friends in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area.
They are able to provide:
- Early contact with families
- A named liaison worker
- A home visit to meet the family and offer support
- Information on services available in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
- Liaison with other services
- Follow up telephone support for the family
- Signposting to practical support
- Information on procedures that take place when there is a death by suicide
Please contact Fiona at Lifecraft for more information