World Suicide Prevention Day

Tackling stigma saves lives. Suicidal thoughts are far more common than people realise but we just don’t talk about them. Stigma makes it embarrassing or frightening to tell another person, but this is absolutely critical to getting help.

Dr Alys Cole-King, on behalf of Connecting with People says ‘Suicidal thoughts usually start because people feel overwhelmed by their problems or their situation.  This can happen to absolutely anyone.  People can find it hard to see a way out.  It is not that they necessarily want their life to end: it is just that they cannot cope with their emotional or physical pain any more.  We want to tackle stigma so people can feel free to access the support knowing that the person they approach will listen and not judge’.

We would like to sincerely thank all our collaborators and in particular our special guest blogger, Rob Webster, Chief Executive Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Dr Mike Durkin Director of Patient Safety NHS England for their support of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Produced by Nine Lives Media


A Message from Dr Mike Durkin, Director of Patient Safety, NHS England:
"I wholeheartedly support World Suicide Prevention Day and its important goal to raise awareness and reduce the stigma people with mental illnesses can face. People who are physically ill will seek treatment easily and are encouraged and well supported, but when people find themselves suffering from mental health problems, often they feel embarrassed which prevents them from seeking the treatment they need. The Patient Safety team at NHS England understand the barriers and risks created by such stigma and have developed tools to try and address what is an important patient safety issue. I would encourage everyone to get involved on the 10th of September and help spread World Suicide Prevention Day’s vital message."


Guest Blog from Rob Webster, Chief Executive, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

I’m sorry if I made you cry. Crying seems to be one of the frequent responses prompted by my blog from 1 August – Saying Yes to Life, Despite Everything. This blog, about the suicide of my brother, was read by thousands of people. Many of them told me how moved they were. Others offered support. Some brave souls came out with their own stories of how they had been affected.


I would like to thank you and Connecting with People for your invaluable support of NHS Change Day. Our aim was to encourage a mass action grassroots innovation to make a real difference in front line care and your pledge captures the spirit of innovation we were trying to encourage. It demonstrates what can be achieved if people collaborate with shared values and purpose and shows how we can change the culture to enhance care. It was also great to see how you built on the success of your NHSChangeday pledge to lead the #CwP #WSPD campaign to help tackle stigma and bring hope to people in distress.

Helen Bevan, Chief Transformation Officer, NHS Horizons team

I am delighted to support the #WSPD initiative as it is so important to get everyone talking about mental health and realising that it affects all of us. It is often hard to know how people are feeling and particularly when dark thoughts might become overwhelming. We are all human beings and should never underestimate the impact that we can have on the lives of others. Do not look away because you don’t know what to say. A kind word, a caring touch can make all the difference.

Gill Phillips, Creator of Whose Shoes?

The Nightline Association is thrilled to be working with Connecting with People, training volunteers in building emotional resilience, mental health awareness and suicide awareness. Our vision is for every student to be able to talk about their feelings in a safe, non-judgmental environment and to have fewer students die by suicide. By this partnership, we're giving Nightline volunteers the skills, knowledge and confidence to deal with student callers who express suicidal thoughts during contact with them. We are delighted to support the Connecting with People WSPD initiative

Jennifer Harper, Head of External Communications, Nightline Association

Suicide is a last attempt to heal ones emotional pain; a pain felt as a result of overwhelming psychological distress. If we know how to recognise a person in distress and how to help them, we can save a life. Therefore, it is important that education and training reaches across the community. I fully support Connecting with People and what they are aiming to achieve.

Dr Gill Green, Chief Executive, STORM Skills Training CIC

I believe we can all make a difference in how we support others: time, kindness, a smile and compassion cost nothing yet are our most powerful tools

Kath Evans, Head of Patient Experience – Maternity, Newborn, Children and Young People
NHS England

As an ex paramedic I have seen people  in desperate need to be understood, to talk or just to be held.
The feelings of suicide can be all consuming and isolating, we all have a role in talking to our friends and families and even perhaps just smiling at a stranger. Sometimes it's the smallest of things that casts the most light in another persons darkness. World suicide prevention day is vital in removing the taboos and reminding us all that person sitting next you as your reading this could feel without hope.
Discussing suicide is the best way to remove the taboo, chat about it in work, in a club, or in your place of worship, you never know it may be the light someone had been hoping for.I also want to draw attention to research that indicates lesbian, gay, bisexual and especially Transgender people consider suicide ideation at a much greater rate than the rest of the population. We are one in this challenge don't let anyone be alone, feel alone or think they are alone.
Perhaps you reading this feels alone you are not, many thousands of people tweeted and talked today about suicide to show you we care. We all care, and this is for you!

Scott Durairaj, Head of Patient Experience - Mental Health and Learning Disability NHS England


Recognising the early signs of distress is vital, especially in adolescents, in whom physicians may not always have suicidal ideation at the top of the list of their concerns. Improving awareness of suicide is vital, but especially in the field of paediatrics it is too often overlooked. The work by connecting with people is very welcome

Dr. Damian Roland - Research Fellow in Paediatric Emergency Medicine

So many of us have been personally affected by suicide and the impact is felt across whole communities. It is devastating to wonder if I could have done anything more to support family and friends when they have been in crisis. People I care deeply dying by suicide has had a real and lasting impact on my life. World Suicide Prevention Day is so important for challenging assumptions and raising awareness about the support that is available.  

Shirley Ayres,  Co-founder The Connected Care Network

A few kind words can be all it takes to prevent an unnecessary death.  Yes, simply talking about suicide can do an enormous amount.  The problem is that we either too busy, too scared or at worst complacent.  This stigma needs to be broken and we need to lift the lid on this growing issue.  It's time to talk about suicide, and it's time to talk to each other.  That's why I'm supporting #WorldSuicidePrevention Day #WSPD #CwP

Dr. Ranj Singh,  NHS Doctor & TV Presenter

I am delighted to support the Connecting with People social media campaign on World Suicide Prevention Day.
Suicide is one of the last taboos. It is an act of desperation that wrecks lives and leaves a long shadow for those left behind
And yet there are very few people who know how to spot those at risk and therefore do their bit to prevent suicide.
This initiative is all about building awareness of suicide prevention opportunities via the wonderful medium of Twitter - other social media are of course available!

Lisa Rodrigues CBE, Chief Executive, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Please read and get involved in the twitter feed above. Our key messages are that:

  • Suicidal thoughts are far more common than people realise. Stigma stops us talking about suicide but talking about it helps break down stigma.
  • Stigma means that it can be frightening to admit to yourself that you feel this way and embarrassing to tell another person. Telling someone is the vital first step to getting through it.

In collaboration with the Royal College of Psychiatrists we have developed a range of public education resources which are available here.