Read between lines to help prevent suicide

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If you can read between the lines, you can save lives. That’s the message Scottish Borders Council (SBC), NHS Borders and other local partners are sending out to people in the Scottish Borders to mark this year’s Suicide Prevention Week (September 7-11).

Last year 696 people across Scotland died by suicide, the equivalent of around two lives lost each day. In 2014, the Scottish Borders saw a reduction of the number of suicides from 15 to 12.

For each suicide, the impact on those left behind lasts a lifetime. One of the ways that SBC, NHS Borders and organisations in the voluntary and statutory sectors are working together to raise awareness and to provide support for the people affected by this issue is by taking part in the Choose Life’s annual ‘Read between the Lines’ campaign.

The campaign acknowledges that signs of suicide can be ambiguous, but encourages people to be aware of the warning signs and take all signs of distress seriously, even if the person seems to be living a normal life. It also aims to assure people that asking a person about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference.

Councillor Catriona Bhatia, SBC’s Executive Member for Health Service said: “Suicide Prevention Week is an opportunity for us all to come together to raise awareness and share knowledge about suicide prevention. Suicide is a complicated issue, sometimes hard to understand, but what we do know is that talking about it can help. If you’re worried about someone, such as a friend, family member or workmate, it’s important that you take the signs seriously and know that making the effort to ask them directly about their feelings, you could ultimately help to save their life.”

Allyson McCollam, Joint Head of Health Improvement for NHS Borders and SBC added: “Suicide has an immense impact on society, on local communities and on individuals, and we can all play a large part in preventing suicides. This week is a chance to remind people across the Borders of the support and help that is available to help them gain valuable skills in identifying the signs of suicidal intent in the people around them – friends, colleagues, family members or neighbours – and to encourage them to make contact and get them to talk about how they feel.”

Anyone looking to find out more about the support that is available should contact the Joint Health Improvement Team 01835 825970.

Support is also available from Breathing Space on 0800 838587 or Samaritans on 08457 909090.

More information about the Choose Life ‘Read between the Lines’ campaign is available at: