If you can read between the lines, you can save lives.
That’s the message Choose Life is sending out to mark this year’s Suicide Prevention Week, which begins on Monday.
Five people took their own lives in East Dunbartonshire last year - underlining the fact that every community in the country has its share of tragedy.
The emotional impact on families, friends and communities is devastating, and those left behind often carry the burden for the rest of their lives.
This year’s campaign asks everyone to be alert to the warning signs of suicide in people close to them.
It acknowledges that signs of suicide can be difficult to spot, but encourages people to take all
signs of distress seriously, even if it seems a person is living a normal life.
It also aims to assure people that asking a person about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference.
Susan Manion, Chief Officer for the East Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), said,“If someone you are close to shows signs of not being themselves, you will normally notice.
“When changes in their behaviour begin to worry you – even if the signs come and go – the most important aspect is to ask them about it.
“Talking openly about their feelings can help a person get clarity about what is troubling them. Starting this
conversation helps them gain a perspective on their distress.
“You don’t need to have a solution to their problems – being there for them and listening, without judgement, shows that you care and their distress, and ultimately their happiness, is important to you.”
Paolo Mazzoncini, Chief Social Work Officer for the HSCP, added: “Ask them what’s troubling them.
“They may tell you that they’ve been thinking about suicide.
“Asking that simple question may be a big relief for them.
“It can be an opportunity for them to open up fully and acknowledge they need help and support.
“By taking a minute to show you care, you could change their life.”
For advice about suicidal feelings, contact:
Breathing Space - 0800 83 85 87;
Samaritans - 116 123;
SAMH -0800 917 3466;
NHS 24 -111.