Eastbourne men encouraged to talk about suicide as part of mental health awareness day

editorial image

Men are being urged to talk about suicide and reminded of the support available in the county, as part of an international awareness-raising day.

World Suicide Prevention Day, on Monday (September 10), is running this year under the theme ‘Working together to end suicide’.

The event is aimed at highlighting the issue of suicide – the single biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK – and breaking the taboo which surrounds it.

Every year, an average of 77 people in East Sussex – three quarters who are men – take their own life, with males aged between 30 and 59 at greatest risk.

Darrell Gale, East Sussex director of public health, said, “For too long, suicide has been a taboo subject, particularly among men, who don’t always feel able to open up and talk about their feelings.

“We know many men experience suicidal thoughts at some point, so anyone having these thoughts should know that they’re not alone and that help is out there for them.”

In East Sussex, Grassroots Suicide Prevention has been funded to raise awareness of suicide and the importance of seeking help, including delivering suicide prevention training to a variety of groups and organisations.

The charity has also designed the award-winning Stay Alive app, which includes quick access to support helplines, suicide myth-busting and advice on how to protect yourself, or someone you know from suicide.

Stella Comber, Grassroots chief executive officer, said, “Many people fear talking about suicide in case they get it wrong or even put the idea in a person’s head. Talking about suicide needn’t be confronting, it can be gentle and reassuring but more importantly it could help save a life.

“Most deaths by suicide in East Sussex and across the UK take place in the community, not in mental health settings, so it’s down us to start that conversation. That’s why we want more people to get involved. By working together and supporting each other we really can make a difference.”

The Stay Alive app can be downloaded for free on Google Play or the Apple App Store, while more information and resources are available on the Grassroots website at www.prevent-suicide.org.uk

A free counselling service is available in East Sussex to those affected by suicide, including people who are feeling suicidal and those who have been bereaved by suicide.

More information about the service, run by the Sussex Community Development Association and funded by East Sussex County Council, is available by calling 01273 519108 or emailing counselling@sussexcommunity.org.uk

People who are feeling suicidal or who have been affected by suicide can get 24-hour support by calling the Samaritans on their free phone number 116 123.