Be SAFE this World Suicide Prevention Day

Businesses and organisations across Sussex and Hampshire are being urged to make their staff SAFE this World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) by downloading and printing handy new information cards.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides specialist mental health and learning disability services for all ages in Sussex as well as services for children and young people in Hampshire, has made the digital files of its SAFE (Suicide Awareness For Everyone) information cards free to download across its social media platforms and website in a bid to raise awareness about suicide prevention.

The wallet sized cards contain simple information about what to do if someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis and you are worried they could harm themselves. It includes helpline numbers, relevant websites and free apps to increase awareness of where and how to access support, information and advice when it’s needed most.

The Trust has shared the design files so organisations can use it as a template, add their own logo and customise according to their staff or customers. So far, more than 20 local companies have been downloaded the files.

Karen Hoskin, Deputy Director in East Sussex, said “Our SAFE cards have been so popular that we have decided to make the artwork available to other organisations so they can brand the cards as their own and tailor the information according to the audience it is intended for. By doing this we are encouraging people to talk about mental health, reduce stigma and promote suicide awareness which is in the interest of all our communities.”

Thousands of the cards have already been handed out over the summer as part of the Trust’s partnership with local Parkruns.  Sussex Partnership staff have been attending the Saturday morning 5k runs across the county to talk to runners about suicide awareness and hand out cards.

Dr Rick Fraser, Sussex Partnership’s Chief Medical Officer and lead for suicide prevention said: “We believe that every death by suicide is potentially preventable, and that suicide is not inevitable. We know that men in particular find it difficult to talk about how they are feeling and may not come forward and ask for help if they are distressed or worried about something. It may seem like a generalisation, but men often don’t have the same social connections and ability to talk about things that are troubling them as women do, so it can often be difficult to spot when someone is struggling.  

“I want everyone to know that, no matter what is going on in their life and how bad things may seem, help is out there and things can get better. There is still a huge stigma around mental health and suicide, but by talking about it and normalising conversations about how we’re feeling, people will start to feel more comfortable and hopefully ask for help before they reach crisis point.

“Our message this World Suicide Prevention Day is that if you are feeling alone, distressed or worried, please talk to someone. Whether that is a friend, your GP or someone at the Samaritans, you don’t have to manage alone. And if you’re worried about someone, please reach out and ask for help. It’s so important that we look out for each other and support each other in seeking help.”

You can download the SAFE cards at www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/suicide-prevention@withoutstigma or www.facebook.com/sussexpartnership.