Suicide is not inevitable
World Suicide Prevention Day is held each year on 10 September. The annual awareness day is intended to raise awareness of the risk of suicide and promote some of the support services available for those who need it.
More than 6,500 people died by suicide in the UK during 2018 – that's an average of 18 a day.
Reaching out to people who are going through a difficult time could help to save their life. People who are feeling low or suicidal often feel worthless and think that no-one cares. Small things like hearing from friends or family, feeling listened to or just being told that 'it's ok to talk' can make a huge difference.
If someone feels suicidal, talking to anyone who can listen and be supportive may be their first step towards getting help. This could include a friend, family member, or colleague as well as a professional such as a doctor, therapist, or trained listener via a helpline.
How you can help
If you feel able to listen, you could simply ask them how they are feeling.
- Try asking open questions, inviting them to answer with more than a yes or no. You could ask: 'What happened about...', 'Tell me about...', 'How do you feel about...'
- Give them time. You might feel anxious to hear their answers, but it helps if you let them take the time they need.
- Take them seriously. People who talk about suicide do sometimes act on their feelings – it's a common myth that they don't. It's best to assume that they are telling the truth about feeling suicidal.
- Don't skirt around the topic. Suicide can still be a taboo subject with many people, which can make it even harder for those experiencing such feelings to open up and feel understood. Direct questions about suicide such as 'Are you having suicidal thoughts?' or 'Have you felt like you want to end your life?' can help someone talk about how they are feeling.
The rate of suicides in Britain has risen sharply to its highest level since 2002, with men accounting for three-quarters of the number of people who took their own lives last year, official figures show.
To help encourage more men to talk openly about how they are feeling, we have created a short video titled ‘Real Men’, which you can view here. Please share this link with your colleagues.
If you don’t feel your ‘usual’ self or are suffering with mental ill-health of any sort, whether it’s just started or has been an issue for a long time – please make the difference for yourself and access support. The sooner you access support the quicker you can start to feel a better.
Support services are available for those who need it
- First Class Support is free and confidential for colleagues and includes direct access to counselling services. Call 0800 6888 777, visit www.rmgfirstclasssupport.co.uk or download the ‘Lifeworks’ app. New users of the website/app can ‘sign up’ using a unique invitation code, which is RMG- and then your payroll number, e.g. RMG-12345678.
- Shout Mental Health Text Service: Free and available 24/7 - text Shout to 85258 in the UK.
- For urgent support in a crisis: call the Samaritans on 116 123 (open 24/7) or in the case of a suicide or other emergency situation, ring 999, or 9999 from a Royal Mail landline.