How can you help to prevent suicide?


By Fran Stulberg, Chair of Riverside’s disability staff network Enable

Today is World Mental Health Day, this year focusing on suicide prevention. But why is it so important to raise awareness?

We know that suicide is preventable, not inevitable and here at Riverside our Enable staff group and our 200+ mental health champions already play a vital role in raising awareness and offering support to anyone who needs to talk.

Here are some warning signs you can look out for to help raise awareness and change someone’s mindset if they are struggling with a mental health issue or depression:

  • Talking – If someone talks about dying by suicide, feeling hopeless, having no reason to live or being a burden to others, these could be signs that they are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Behaviours – Increased use of alcohol or drugs, withdrawing from activities, isolating from people, sleeping too much or too little or giving away prized possessions are some examples of behaviours people might display if they’re feeling suicidal.
  • Mood – People who are considering suicide often display moods such as depression, anxiety, shame, anger, agitation, or even relief.

Start a conversation

If you’re concerned about someone, don’t be afraid to approach them and start a conversation.  Ask them how they are and use the Time to Change’s Ask Twice campaign which highlights that sometimes people will say they are fine when really they are far from it.  Asking them again if they are sure they are okay usually works and they will then hopefully open up to you. Have a look at Time to Change’s website here.

Take time to listen

Once you have started a conversation with someone who is struggling, signpost them to help and advice. There are lots of resources online that can help including Mind, SANE, Samaritans and CALM.