Suicide awareness and how to help? World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year and today in Australia it is “R U OK? Day“, a suicide prevention day to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with those in their world who may be struggling with life.
WSPD provides worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. In this article, we share facts about our current mental health crisis, and examples of helpful Mental Health First Aid charities which support people in need.
A Mental Health Crisis
Samaritans pointed to “worrying trends” during the Covid-19 crisis. This was on top of the suicide rate for men in England and Wales in 2019 being the highest for two decades.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published on Tuesday, found there were 5,691 suicides registered. This is with an age-standardised rate of 11 deaths per 100,000 population.
The ONS said men accounted for about three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019. 4,303 compared with 1,388 women.
Firstly, men aged 45-49 remain at the highest risk of suicide. However, there has also been an increase in suicide rates among young people, especially women under 25.
Although there was no guarantee the impact of Covid-19 would lead to higher suicide rates, Samaritans analysed their helpline calls. They found the pandemic had exacerbated known risk factors for people already vulnerable.
How to help
If someone feels suicidal, some people are able to benefit from help by volunteers from an amazing organisation called Maytree. In addition, they have a non-medical haven and receive support from trained volunteers at this pivotal moment in their life.
What is Maytree?
Maytree is a special and unique charity that provides a place to stay for those who are feeling suicidal. It is a non-medical residential home open 365 days a year, staffed by trained and supportive volunteers.
What do they provide?
Maytree provides guests with a room of their own, full use of a kitchen, sitting room and garden. Likewise, privacy is an option at any time.
Importantly, they also allow for lots of time to talk, including one-to-one sessions, with trained and friendly volunteers. Staff spend many hours with each guest over their stay. Furthermore, they give them the opportunity to talk through their fears, thoughts and troubles. All thoughts and feelings are heard with compassion and without judgement.
After a stay:
As Maytree is only able to offer short one-off stays, they make sure that during a guest’s stay discussions are had about next steps, including counselling, financial advice and housing.
A week after a guest’s stay, he or she will receive a personal record, written by a member of Maytree’s staff team reflecting on their stay and validating struggles whilst honouring their achievements.
Maytree usually have initial conversations on the phone with callers, which for some is sufficient help to move forward without coming to stay in the home.
First Aid for Life support Maytree and their incredible work:
First Aid for Life provides specialist first aid training for the volunteers of Maytree and have done for many years. The team they recruit have always been outstanding and our tailored courses ensure they are confident and competent to help should they need to.
Moreover, if you would like further information about Maytree or the Samaritans, please find their numbers below and don’t hesitate to ask for help.
To call Maytree: 02072637070
To call Samaritans: 116 123
The Lions Barber Collective
After the death of his friend Alex, Torquay based barber Tom Chapman made the charity ‘The Lions Barber Collective’. Its mission is to create non-clinical, non-judgemental safe spaces where men feel comfortable to talk about their mental health and to signpost them to support and information. Someone in the UK taking their own life every 120 minutes. 75% of them being men. The need for change is more crucial than ever.
Now drawing towards the charities 5th year and anniversary on 10th September which is commonly World Suicide Prevention Day each year. The Lions Barber Collective is seeking more hair professionals to take their training. This is to ensure that their clients receive mental wellbeing support and prevent possible suicides. Recognising that barbers and hair professionals are often a trusted confidant and friendly ear to their customers. the charity has developed a clinically backed training programme (BarberTalk) for hairstylists to support their clients and communities. The BarberTalk training is based on the four pillars of RECOGNISE, ASK, LISTEN and HELP. These give them the knowledge to be able to bridge the gap between the communities they serve and the resources that are available. All while providing a safe space to share, open up or offload.
Working with national bodies such as the NHS and Public Health England as well as local authorities across the UK, by delivering the training the charity does not aim to create barbers into counsellors. Allowing the industry to embrace the trust clients have with their barber to make a difference and be able to become that first step on that journey, directing people to where they can receive the help they need.