Our Executive Director Rachel Cackett shares why we're supporting Scotland's national movement on World Suicide Prevention Day.
2020 will likely have been the most difficult and disruptive year that many of us have faced. The coronavirus pandemic has posed significant challenges to everyone in Scotland, not least to our mental health and wellbeing. It is too early to know the effect of coronavirus on suicide rates, and it’s important to remember that a rise in suicide rates is not inevitable. However, Samaritans’ caller-awareness research has shown that one in four of our calls were from people who were specifically concerned about Covid-19 – although, our volunteers suggest that coronavirus has affected every one of our callers in some way, even if it wasn’t their main concern.
#WorldSuicidePreventionDay feels like it carries a particular importance this year as we have become acutely aware of how anyone can begin to struggle with their mental health, at any point in their life. This day reminds us of what suicide is, a combination of social, economic and psychological factors leading to a preventable death.
Rachel Cackett, Executive Director, Samaritans Scotland
As a member of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, we have continued to support the delivery and implementation of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan. This year to mark #WorldSuicidePreventionDay, a new unifying brand identity for the Suicide Prevention Action Plan has been launched - United to Prevent Suicide. The new campaign aims to build a social movement of organisations and individuals committed to preventing deaths by suicide in Scotland. Samaritans Scotland are wholly committed to playing our part in this new social movement.
United to Prevent Suicide recognises the need to talk openly and honestly, acknowledging that we should feel confident to talk about suicide. We know that many people may feel apprehensive about how to have these conversations. But evidence shows that talking openly and honestly can actually help someone who is struggling to share how they are really feeling.
Join the United to Prevent Suicide movement!
At Samaritans Scotland, talking is what we do. Our volunteers talk everyday with people who are struggling. We have also developed practical resources to start a conversation with someone you’re worried about. Our SHUSH listening tips provide guidance on how to support someone and show you’re really listening to what they are saying. We believe that talking about how we feel and listening to how others feel can truly make someone feel supported and help them to overcome their struggles.
Samaritans Scotland believes that only by talking about suicide can we help tackle the stigma that surrounds it. Our recent #RealPeopleRealStories campaign featured men sharing their experiences of seeking support for their distress, breaking the stigma around seeking help and encouraging more men to actively seek help. #RealPeopleRealStories has demonstrated the power of open and honest conversation to address stigma and motivate positive change.
We believe that the same can be achieved in suicide prevention by having these difficult conversations, across Scotland and in every public space. This #WorldSucidePreventionDay, and every day after, we are proud to be a part of the United to Prevent Suicide movement and are committed to preventing deaths by suicide in Scotland.