Preventing Suicide in our Eastern European Communities

As part of our STOP Suicide campaign, we have worked closely with our local Eastern European communities – Poles, Lithuanians and Romanians – to develop messages and multi-lingual resources with the aim of preventing suicide.

Throughout our targeted digital campaigning across May and June 2020, our messages reached 57,000 Eastern Europeans on Facebook, featured in nine media publications and as adverts on selected websites. We attracted 3,269 Eastern Europeans, local to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, to visit our website where our translated resources could be downloaded in Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian.

The key messages of our targeted campaign were based on our existing STOP Suicide communications and tested in February 2020 with members of our local Eastern European communities through market research interviews. We found that these communities, as with the general population, identified a fear of talking directly about suicide and a sense of shame and stigma in having open conversations.

A man sitting with a mobile phone in his hand

As such, we proceeded by removing any language barriers in our resources and campaigning to convey three key messages which were:

  • A simple conversation can save a life
  • Suicide prevention is everybody’s business
  • Ask directly about suicide

In our online post-campaign survey, we found that 80% of Poles, 75.2% of Lithuanians and 75.5% of Romanians ‘felt able to speak with someone who may be at risk of suicide’. We also found that 95.5% of Poles, 93.8% of Lithuanians and 85.7% of Romanians agreed that ‘suicide is the business of all of us and that we should all know how to help others’.

Throughout the campaign we also received a positive sentiment on Facebook including comments such as, ‘Great you are doing this campaign. It is very much needed’.

Original plans for our campaign included elements of community engagement supported by printed resources and on-street surveys. However, the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated a switch to a fully digital campaign. In order to maintain engagement with local Eastern European community groups, we built relationships with more than 30 local Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian organisations, such as schools, restaurants, shops and churches, who helped to share our messages.

If you’re concerned about someone or need support yourself, please see our ‘How to support someone’ and ‘How to keep yourself safe’ pages.