A new phase of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough award-winning suicide prevention campaign STOP Suicide launched on Thursday 10th September 2020 for World Suicide Prevention Day. It focuses on enabling conversations between men about their mental health experiences, and encourages others to ask openly and directly about suicide if they are worried that someone may be at risk.
Suicide remains the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK and this phase features words, feelings and observations of men with lived experience of mental health addressing the barriers to male conversations. The campaign will be shared through online and broadcast channels.
The campaign is led by Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind (CPSL Mind) in partnership with Local Authorities and local NHS as part of the county-wide suicide prevention strategy, together with over 2,500 individual and more than 100 organisational STOP Suicide pledges.
The campaign openly challenges the myths around talking directly about suicide. In doing so, it has gained support from actors, writers and mental health campaigners, such as Stephen Fry, Benjamin Zephaniah and Johnny Benjamin among others who have pledged their support.
Isabel Cross, Head of Campaigns at CPSL Mind says: “Men are three times as likely to take their own life and middle-aged men particularly have consistently faced higher suicide rates than other age groups. In general, men may have fewer meaningful connections than women and their social networks can be less supportive. It could also be that this group is less inclined to seek help so it’s more important than ever that we encourage conversation to break the stigma”
The taboo around suicide means that individuals at risk are themselves often fearful about sharing how they’re feeling, so being asked directly about suicidal thoughts can be a massive relief.
Rishal Patel has lived experience and says “The ideas are that if we were to talk about it, it would make it worse or people would judge and I would do something. Whereas I wanted them to talk, I wanted them to listen, I wanted them to engage in conversation because I was isolated, but it was more isolating to not even touch the subject”.
Isabel adds “70 per cent of people who die by suicide have not been in contact with mental health services in the year before their death, it’s more likely that a friend, relative, neighbour or colleague – rather than a mental health professional – will be in the best position to spot the warning signs in those at risk, help them by talking openly about suicide, listen to their story and direct them to the help they need”.
“Providing members of the public with the skills and confidence to have open conversations about suicide will help those at risk to stay safe”.
Individuals and organisations can support the campaign by signing the STOP Suicide pledge and sharing their commitment on social media using the hashtags #IdAsk and #STOPSuicide.