Suicide and depression have the power to decimate lives, break apart families and have a negative ripple effect on wider communities. Every year, more than one million people across the world take their own life.
World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on 10 September each year to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides. Various events and activities are held during this occasion to raise awareness that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death.
The campaign, which this year has a theme of creating hope through action, gives organisations, government agencies and individuals a chance to raise awareness about suicide, mental illnesses associated with suicide, as well as suicide prevention. Organisations such as the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and World Health Organization (WHO) play a key role in promoting this event.
According to WHO, on average nearly 3,000 people globally commit suicide daily, and for every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives. Suicide is influenced by psycho-social, cultural and environmental risk factors that can be prevented through community responses that address these main risk factors. There is strong evidence indicating that adequate prevention can reduce suicide rates.
For a variety of reasons, Greater Cumbernauld is an area in which a range of social, health, environmental and cultural issues exist. One negative impact of this is that local people are more at risk of suicide.
Making improvements in how people think and behave about suicide is a complex area and needs a range of actions and approaches. Crucial to this is the coordination and delivery of efforts at both national and local levels.
People who die by suicide often contact healthcare services in the year before their death. That’s why training programmes for improving the capacity of healthcare professionals and those working in community settings to detect, signpost to services, or treat depression and manage suicide risk, are some of the leading evidence-based strategies in the field of suicide prevention.
Anyone can have thoughts of suicide, and everyone can learn to help. Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub is committed to supporting and promoting a range of campaigns and organisations which discuss and raise awareness of suicide and what people can do to help those at risk.
Locally, Cornerstone House Centre works with partners to ensure that suicide is no longer stigmatised, criminalised or penalised. The organisation is an advocate for strengthening planning capacity to establish the core building blocks of a national response to suicide in Scotland.
In 2020, during Mental Health Awareness Week, celebrities including Steve Coogan and actors from Still Game threw their weight behind a campaign to raise awareness of suicide prevention in North Lanarkshire.
Suicide Prevention North Lanarkshire’s ‘You Matter’ initiative centred on a short video with 12 household names offering useful tips and advice on how to keep positive and where to get support if you are experiencing low mood or suicidal thoughts.
Earlier this year, Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub also encouraged people to take time to watch and share with others a short ‘Don’t Mask Your Feelings’ video on suicide prevention. This was released to offer some comfort and guidance to those struggling to cope at this challenging time. The video aims to highlight the range of support available to those who may be feeling suicidal in Cumbernauld and the surrounding towns and villages.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please be aware that there are a range of free, confidential and compassionate services out there which offer immediate and round-the-clock help.
Within the North Lanarkshire area, local organisations such as FAMS (Families Against Murder and Suicide) can be contacted 24 hours per day on 07736 326062 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, as can Chris’s House on 01236 766755 or via email at email@example.com.
Indeed, the number of Cumbernauld residents requesting support from FAMS in dealing with traumatic grief and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has increased significantly over the past year. To this end, Cornerstone House Centre’s Cumbernauld CAN initiative recently awarded the organisation a small grant of £500 to contribute to a listening ear service, online support groups and provision of advocacy services.
For more about this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, visit the World Suicide Prevention Day 2021 website or input #WSPD2021 on social media. A range of further information, training and suicide prevention resources can be obtained by visiting Public Health Scotland’s website.
This summer, a smartphone Suicide Prevention in Lanarkshire app was launched by Suicide Prevention North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Council’s Every Life Matters. This contains useful information to help keep people safe and provide guidance on how to look out for others you may be concerned about.
Also included are details about training and awareness sessions, facts and myths around suicide, how to start a conversation about suicide and how to access crucial support helplines. The app can be downloaded from mobile device app stores by searching for SP Lanarkshire.