Let’s talk about mental health and suicide

TALKING about mental health and suicide is being encouraged to help reduce the number of Inverclyde residents taking their own lives.

People are also being urged to look out for family, friends or colleagues who might not seem themselves ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Friday (10 September 2021).

The annual awareness event is being backed by Inverclyde Council and Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP).

Latest figures show that in 2020 13 people died of suicide locally, three less than in 2019.

Historically suicide claims the lives of more men than women but last year deaths were recorded for eight females and five males in Inverclyde.

Suicide among women is also on the rise nationally.  

World Suicide Prevention Day banner

While there are many local and national services available to support people who are going through difficult times and who may be contemplating suicide, residents are being encouraged to play their part in preventing others from taking their own lives.

Councillor Robert Moran, Inverclyde’s health and social care convener, said: “Suicide is preventable but we all have a duty to look out for our friends, families, neighbours and colleagues and spot any signs that they may be struggling and ensure they get the help and support they need.

“Whether it’s simply lending an ear to listen, talking about our mental health or signposting someone to one of the many first-class services operating in Inverclyde or at a national level, these small acts can go a long way in preventing a loved-one or fellow citizen from taking their own life.

“While there was a reduction in suicide last year, one death is too many and each one represents someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, mum, dad, relative, friend or colleague.

“That’s why it’s important we look out for each other, remember that we’re not alone and know that it’s okay not to be okay.”

According to Public Health Scotland, for every two people who die by suicide in the wealthiest communities, seven people die by suicide in the poorest communities.

It is estimated that one in four people will experience a mental illness at some point in their life.

Having access to the right treatment and support is vital to help people recover as soon as possible.  

The Inverclyde Community Health Team based at Crown House on King Street, Greenock, can be contacted on 01475 558000.

Anyone who is experiencing thoughts of suicide is encouraged to call Samaritans, which has an Inverclyde branch, for free on 116 123, Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 (free, available Monday-Thursday 6pm-2am and Friday-Monday 6pm-6am) or the NHS24 Mental Health Hub on 111 (free, 24 hours per day).

For more help and advice visit www.inverclyde.gov.uk/mentalhealth.