If you think someone is suicidal then ask them, campaign urges

PUBLISHED: 17:26 23 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:27 23 September 2020

Rishal Patel was featured on BBC Look East talking about mental health in Wisbech. Pictures: BBC Look East

Rishal Patel was featured on BBC Look East talking about mental health in Wisbech. Pictures: BBC Look East

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A mental health campaign is urging friends and family to talk openly about suicide to anyone they know who may be feeling suicidal.

James Archer (L) and Rishal Patel (R) pictured at an event in Wisbech to raise awareness of men's suicide. Pictures: CPSL MindJames Archer (L) and Rishal Patel (R) pictured at an event in Wisbech to raise awareness of men's suicide. Pictures: CPSL Mind

STOP Suicide is highlighting the benefits of conversation and encourages people to ask directly about suicide if they are worried someone they know is at risk.

It is being led by Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind (CPSL Mind) and focuses on men’s mental health which is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

And encouraging men to speak openly about the issue was the message being promoted at a recent event held at Shedders & Fixers, a community project in Mile Tree Lane in Wisbech.

Isabel Cross, Head of Campaigns, said: “Men are three times as likely to take their own life and middle-aged men particularly have consistently faced higher suicide rates than other age groups.”

Screenshot of the STOP Suicide campaign video. Pictures: CPSL MindScreenshot of the STOP Suicide campaign video. Pictures: CPSL Mind

She added: “Seventy per cent of people who die by suicide have not been in contact with mental health services in the year before their death.

“It’s more likely that a friend, relative, neighbour or colleague – rather than a mental health professional – will be in the best position to spot the warning signs in those at risk, help them by talking openly about suicide, listen to their story and direct them to the help they need.”

YouTuber Rishal Patel, 22, from Peterborough, was among those who attended the Wisbech event.

He has struggled with his mental health since his early teens and tried to take his own life during his first year at university.

He said: “I felt as though I was in a dark, black box at the time - that’s how I describe it.

“Sadly, there is a lot of stigma when it comes to talking about suicide. At the time, none of my friends or family knew what I had tried to do because I was so embarrassed by it.

“But when all of that was happening, I wanted them to talk to me and I needed them to listen. It really would’ve helped.

“So if you think someone is really struggling and feeling suicidal then don’t be afraid to ask them.”

Rishal has since learned to manage his depression and anxiety and now volunteers for the CPSL Mind campaign.

Isabel added: “In general, men may have fewer meaningful connections than women and their social networks can be less supportive.

“It could also be that this group is less inclined to seek help so it’s more important than ever that we encourage conversation to break the stigma.”

Visit the STOP Suicide website for advice or to find out more about the campaign.


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