‘Take a minute, change a life’ this World Suicide Prevention Day

Thursday, 7 September 2017 – Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement
‘Take a minute, change a life’ this World Suicide Prevention Day

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging people to use World Suicide Prevention Day as an opportunity to ‘have a chat’ with someone they are concerned about.

World Suicide Prevention Day is held annually on 10 September and the theme this year is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’

Fiona Teague, Health Improvement and Social Wellbeing Manager with the PHA, said: “Offering a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgemental way can make all the difference. We would encourage people to start a caring conversation with someone they are concerned about. Encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace and let them know that you will support them to find the help that they need.”

Fiona said that talking about feelings can be the first step towards recovery for some people.

“By asking the person the questions, ‘are you feeling a bit low?’ or ‘are you worried about something?’ you are acknowledging their distress and giving them the chance to talk about something that is probably very frightening for them. It is even ok to ask someone if they have had thoughts about harming themselves or about suicide.”

More information on looking after mental health and the support which is available across Northern Ireland can be found at www.mindingyourhead.info

You can also talk to your GP for advice.

The PHA leaflet ‘Concerned about Suicide?’ contains information on what you can say and do to help someone, and is available at http://pha.site/concerned

If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. This is a confidential service where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also access the Lifeline website at www.lifelinehelpline.info