TRIGGER WARNING: This blog mentions suicide and may be upsetting in nature. If you need to talk to someone after reading this article, call the Samaritans FREE on 116 123, 24/7.
A message from our CEO
Until recently it’s been my assumption that, in striving to to achieve Dorset Mind’s Mission, we would be automatically contributing to the prevention of suicide in our county.
But in recent months I’ve changed my view about this. The more I talk to experts, work with partners and reflect on my own experiences, the more I believe that we need to take more focussed action, and make more directed efforts to prevent people specifically dying from suicide.
And so in the last few weeks, and in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day 2021, Dorset Mind has been developing its own Suicide Prevention Strategy. This will become one of the organisation’s key pillar documents as we move into the 5th year of our 5 Year Strategy along with our new Equality Policy and our focus on building partnerships and collaborations.
The Suicide Prevention Strategy has 3 key components that relate to our overall Mission Statement. The first relates to education – education that goes beyond our intention to educate people generally about mental wellbeing. We need to educate people about what can contribute to thoughts of suicide and how to talk about it. And we also need to educate people about where to get help and what to do, specifically in times of crisis.
The second relates to battling the stigma about Suicide and the mental health difficulties that often go along side it. To do this we must talk more about Suicide. And so our Strategy will include actions that share stories of resilience and hope from people who have suicidal thoughts, that work with the media to report suicides responsibly and that campaign to target people who are particularly at risk of dying from suicide.
The final component of the strategy focuses on how we support our participants so that they get the help they need to prevent suicide. We must take positive action to reach specific people who are at high risk of dying by suicide, take actions that ensure we operate as safely as possible and take actions that ensure everyone we come into contact with receives the right information about how and where to get help when they’re in crisis.
How will we know if any of this makes any difference? The truth is we may never know the answer but I believe we MUST try. And we are much more likely to succeed by working closely together with partners and with NHS and public health colleagues. If we all work together with the attitude that all suicides are preventable then we stand a chance of making a difference.
But the truth is that suicide prevention is EVERYBODY’s business. If I could write a suicide prevention strategy for our entire Dorset community it would have the same three components:
- Let’s EDUCATE ourselves about how to talk about suicide and go out and do it.
- Let’s all tackle the stigma by TALKING about suicide more. The more we talk, the more we reduce the stigma, the faster we can spread the word that there IS help available. And that there ARE alternatives to ending life.
- Let’s all get better at ASKING FOR HELP, lets make sure our friends and family know where to turn if things get tough. And let’s make it ok for people to tell us if they are struggling.
If you need emotional support, take note of the following FREE numbers:
- Samaritans – 24/7 listening helpline: Call 116 123
- SHOUT – 24/7 Crisis text service: Text “SHOUT” to 85258
- Connection – Dorset’s 24/7 Helpline: Call 0800 652 0190
Our blogger today, is our inspirational CEO, Marianne who always speaks from the heart and leads by example.