A new suicide prevention campaign has launched in Liverpool, encouraging people to reach out and start a conversation – whether they are worried about someone – or are in crisis themselves.
The campaign REACHOUT Liverpool – launched by Liverpool City Council’s Public Health team in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Alder Hey Children’s Foundation Trust has been developed following a significant increase in death by suicide across the city in 2020.
Professor Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Liverpool, said:
“Suicide is a serious public health problem; and with the right support it is preventable. When people have the skills and confidence to broach the subject it can make all the difference.
“The prevention of suicide has not been adequately addressed due to a lack of awareness of suicide as a major public health problem, and the taboo in many societies to openly discuss it. Raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo is important to make progress in preventing suicide – but this is only part of this story. Addressing why people are in crisis and linking them up with the right kind of support is central to prevention – whether that’s signposting to debt management, counselling for relationship breakdowns or treatment for substance abuse or anxiety.”
Backing the campaign is Lindsay, a 34-year-old council worker from Liverpool – who has herself been in crisis.
Lindsay has attempted to take her own life on several occasions and is passionate about the need to talk about feelings of suicide – and ensuring people get the help they need.
Lindsay was just 14-years-old when she began suffering from depression and anxiety and started to self-harm. She struggled until her early twenties when she sought help and received counselling. Five years later, she hit rock bottom as she saw a return of her difficulties and severe symptoms. Lindsay’s mental health deteriorated and she was eventually admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she was diagnosed with a depressive disorder.
Lindsay said: “This is such an important campaign and very personal to me, as I understand how vital it is to get this issue out in the open. I feel that many people are still scared to talk about it, but we have to feel ok about talking about it.
“It also addresses some of the myths around talking about suicide. For example, some people think that raising the subject of suicide with someone will put the idea in their head – but it’s the opposite, it gives them permission to talk.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved – it could save a life.”
For more information on the campaign, visit www.reachoutsuicideprevention.co.uk.