Shine a light on suicide

The word ‘suicide’ can be difficult to say out loud and instead we often search for alternatives that aren’t as harsh.

However, the reluctance to talk about suicide in an open and direct way has now come under the spotlight as part of a Greater Manchester-wide campaign to reduce the stigma and raise awareness.

The Shining a Light on Suicide campaign was launched last week and you may have seen some coverage on social media.

Some of the campaign photos demonstrate how important it is to bring the subject out of the dark shadows by literally shining a light on public buildings, like Bolton Town Hall, to reveal stark statistics about suicide in the region.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 49 and in women aged 20 to 34. It is prevalent among the LGBT community and students.

As a GP I have met patients with suicidal thoughts and it is important to explore those thoughts and understand the urgency. Contrary to popular belief, talking to someone about suicide does not put the idea into their head.

Thankfully, talking about mental health issues has become easier but there is still a lot of work to be done to understand the reasons why a person feels that suicide is an option or that they can’t access the help that is available.

In Bolton between 2015 and 2017, 88 people died by suicide and it is 88 people too many.

The affects that suicide has on bereaved families, friends and colleagues can be devastating.

Please take the time to check out the campaign website www.shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk and familiarise yourself with the issues around suicide.

Start the conversation and help those who are suffering in silence.

If you or someone you know needs urgent help, contact Samaritans on 116 123.

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