Residents in Hertfordshire are being urged by the County Council to undertake free training for World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September).
Each year, organisations unite to increase awareness of suicide prevention worldwide and promote action.
Taking place annually on 10 September, the global event was first introduced by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in 2003.
The theme for 2021 is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’.
To mark this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, Hertfordshire County Council are asking people to watch a 20 minute online presentation produced by Zero Suicide Alliance – a charity dedicated to preventing suicide.
The training will help people understand how to assist someone that is in distress.
There are around 100 deaths by suicide in Hertfordshire each year. While this figure is below the national average, numbers have increased slightly since 2017.
Each life lost to suicide is a tragedy, and in 2017 the County Council formed the Hertfordshire Suicide Prevention Network.
The network consists of over 20 organisations, whose vision is to make Hertfordshire a county in which no-one ever reaches a point where they feel suicide is their only option.
Hertfordshire’s Executive Member for Public Health and Community Safety, Morris Bright MBE, said: “This is such an important subject, we shouldn’t shy away from talking about it.
“With mental health issues increasing since the start of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we all play our part in looking out for each other, so we would urge everyone to give up 20 minutes of their time to watch the training presentation. It might just save a life.”
Dr Joanne Farrow, Deputy Medical Director and Suicide Prevention Lead for Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust added: “Many people are afraid of having a difficult conversation with someone they are worried about, because they don’t know what they should say.
“That’s why Hertfordshire’s Suicide Prevention Network is working together to promote the training.
“It explains that it’s OK to talk about suicide and helps people understand how to help someone they are worried about by spotting the signs, knowing what to say and signposting to help.”
To take part in the training presentation visit www.bit.ly/suicidepreventionherts or search Zero Suicide Alliance training online.
If you or someone you know is in need you can dial NHS111, and select option 2 anytime 24/7 for specialist mental health support.
Alternatively, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 or email email@example.com
The Stay Alive App, a suicide prevention resource, is also available in Hertfordshire.
It has tools to help keep people safe in times of crisis, as well as details of emergency or support services to contact in Hertfordshire.
The app can be used if someone is experiencing difficulties with their mental health, having thoughts of suicide, or if they are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide. Find out more here.
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