This week marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Week, running from Monday 7th September and including World Suicide Prevention Day today (Thursday 10 September).

This year’s theme for Suicide Prevention Week is ‘Talking Saves Lives’, says NHS Western Isles.

At any one time around 1 in 25 people are contemplating suicide. Many people in Scotland have been affected by suicide in some way – whether it’s themselves, a loved one, or someone they know. Suicide is of concern to all of us. It is a leading cause of death among young people, with men three times more likely to take their own lives compared to women.

Thanks to the efforts of many, we have made progress in reducing the number of people who die by suicide. In 2018, there were 784 suicides in Scotland. However, the simple truth is you’re more likely to encounter someone who needs a suicide intervention than physical first aid.

As part of World Suicide Prevention Day, Scotland is launching an exciting new commitment to making Scotland the most supportive nation in the world.

On the 10th September, Scotland will declare that #suicide is not inevitable & #TogetherWeCanSaveLives

The United to Prevent Suicide campaign is a new refreshed approach to preventing suicide as set out in Scotland’s National Suicide Prevention Action Plan. It is clear that suicide prevention involves all of us. We have to be confident to talk about suicide; confident to connect someone to the right support. Language is important – talking about suicide isn’t a trigger, it can help save a life, and we must continue to tackle stigma around suicide.

NHS Western Isles and our local partners are proud to join the global movement to raise awareness of #SuicidePrevention in recognition of the key message that it needs all of us to join the movement for change. Key messaging will be shared across the week itself and in the weeks that follow there will be a number of ways in which everyone can also demonstrate their commitment to #UnitedToPreventSuicide by developing a supportive culture within our own communities. The emotional impact across the Western Isles is felt in families, friends and communities bereaved by suicide and is devastating, and can have long lasting negative effects on those left behind.

NHS Western wants to raise awareness of the issues that affect people and which can sometimes lead them to think about taking their own life and to share resources which increase the confidence of individuals to support anyone in distress, by directing them to the specialist help they need at that time. The campaign encourages people to take all signs of distress seriously, even if it seems a person is living a normal life. It also assures people that asking a person about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference. As such we continue to ask everyone to be alert to the warning signs of suicide in people close to them.

The key message is: if you’re worried about someone, such as a friend, family member or workmate, asking them directly about their feelings can help to save their life.