Global Suicide Safety
Casting a Global Spotlight on Suicide Prevention
One person dies every 40 seconds due to suicide.
Over one million people end their own lives each year, while 10 million people attempt suicide annually. Suicide is the leading cause of death in young people in many nations.
The global rate of suicide has risen more than 60% in the last 45 years and the statistics are staggering. With the majority of people never receiving professional mental health care before taking their own lives.
Conversations on Suicide: Suicide Safe Summit
6th March 2019
In the UK, one person in fifteen has made a suicide attempt at some point in their life. In 2017, 5,821 suicides were recorded in Great Britain. With statistics like these, the need for safe spaces to discuss suicide is of critical importance. This is something noted by psychotherapist and pioneering leader in mental health treatment, Noel McDermott who believes the key to suicide prevention is more conversation.
As Noel comments, “In the UK we offer authentic and intimate conversations about suicide. When we visit people around the world and describe our efforts, the common theme is respect and admiration for our conversations on suicide.”
To foster this necessary and critical conversation, Noel organised an evening of discussion on the topic of suicide with some of the UK’s most respected thought leaders in this area.
Those in attendance included: Angela Samata<https://angelasamata.co.uk/about/>, presenter of ‘Life After Suicide’; Nick Barnes, CEO of The National Centre for Suicide Prevention Training<http://www.suicidesaferlondon.org.uk/>; Penny Macleod, scriptwriter and editor of ‘Letting the Light in'<http://lettingthelightin.com/>, a blog intended to provide help for parents to face drug addiction in their family; mental health campaigners Johnny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourne<https://www.rethink.org/about-us/people-and-history/jonny-and-neil>; broadcaster/author Russ Kane and Jermyn Street Theatre founder Howard Jameson- both creators of Men’s Radio Station<https://mensradiostation.com/>; and Shirley Smith, founder of If U Care Share<https://www.ifucareshare.co.uk/>.
These key individuals were selected for the evening due to their remarkable work in creating safe spaces for the discussion of suicide. Each of them contributes to the support network surrounding suicide and their work fosters a culture that can openly engage with the topic. Suicide safe practice is an area that is growing in many areas and it is fundamental that this growth continues.
Much of the conversation had at the evening was private as those in attendance shared their personal stories about how suicide has profoundly affected and changed their lives. The conversation broached the areas of, men, women, family, friends, work and experience in the mental health systems. Throughout, there was consensus on the necessity for this type of discussion as a society. Talking about it increases our awareness as a community and brings this widespread issue into the public consciousness.
What emerged from the evening above anything else is the transformative power of community that emerges from truthful conversation. Noel left the evening, “wishing to share more widely with people in the UK and internationally what we are so good at in the UK, which is talking about suicide and creating deep affiliative bonds around a subject and issue that most often causes deep rifts and fear.”
Following the evening, many members of the group will be looking at creating a series of events that will spread the transformative power of community by developing intimate conversations on suicide. Talking about suicidal thoughts and feelings can help save lives.
Mental Health Help Available in the UK
In the UK we have very good national services available. See your GP if you are concerned about your own mental health or a loved one – your doctor can refer you to local support services and talking treatments. If you’re concerned about a friend or family member, they may benefit from a 1 on 1 consultation with a professional in this field to discuss your concerns and work towards creating a care programme.
 McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016) Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. Leeds: NHS Digital. Available at http://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB21748. [Accessed 18 October 2017]
2 Office for National Statistics (2016). Suicides in GB, 2016 Registrations – ONS. [online] Available at:https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarri…<https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2017registrations %5bAccessed> 6 September 2018].