A groundbreaking suicide prevention campaign that uses people’s first-hand experiences to encourage others to ask openly about suicide if they are worried that someone may be at risk, has been launched across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough this week.
STOP Suicide is an award-winning campaign led by Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire (CPSL) Mind in partnership with Lifecraft. It’s supported by local NHS and local authority teams, as part of the county-wide suicide prevention strategy, together with more than 1400 individual and over 50 organisational STOP Suicide pledgees.
For 2018, the high-profile campaign resources are being targeted at people living and working across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire using a powerful film, direct radio and bus advertising, community roadshows, and real people’s stories shared online.
It’s believed to be the first campaign of its kind to so openly challenge the myths around talking directly about suicide. In doing so, it has gained international support from the actor, writer, comedian and long-term mental health campaigner, Stephen Fry.
Stephen who is President of Mind said: “With 1 in 4 people, like me, living with a mental health problem, we have to address the stigma that exists when asking someone directly how they’re feeling. Suicide can affect anyone. We know that often people struggle in silence and find it difficult to know how to ask for help. That’s why campaigns like this are so important.
“STOP Suicide is the campaign behind the “I’d Ask” Pledge, which I’ve signed up to and would urge others to do the same.”
The actor’s endorsement has been welcomed by CPSL Mind. CEO, Aly Anderson, said: “Evidence shows that talking openly about suicide saves lives, and yet many people are fearful of using the word “suicide” with someone they’re worried about.
“This is completely understandable, but these fears are often based on the myth that talking about suicide might somehow ‘encourage’ people to take their lives. In fact, the opposite is true. 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.
“The facts are that an estimated one in five of us has had suicidal thoughts at some point in our lives and 70 per cent of people who die by suicide have not been in contact with mental health services in the year before their death. Consequently, 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.”
Kelvin Plomer, who is Director of Charitable Giving and Customer Support at Jagex, said: “We’re honoured to be supporting CPSL Mind’s STOP Suicide campaign. Previous years have shown it to be effective at preventing suicides across the county by raising awareness of the warning signs.
“Providing members of the public with the skills and confidence to have open conversations about suicide will help those at risk to stay safe. Our partnership with CPSL Mind has enabled them to be more ambitious, and more effective – Jagex, through our charitable strategies, wants to make a real difference to people’s lives, and it’s campaigns like this which seek to achieve that, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
Individuals and organisations can support the campaign by signing the STOP Suicide pledge at: www.stopsuicidepledge.org/pledge/ and sharing their commitment on social media using the hashtags #IdAsk and #STOPSuicide
For more information and to access advice including 24-hour support via the NHS.
First Response Service using 111 option 2 or visit the Stop Suicide website.