As I write this, it is World Suicide Prevention Day – 10th September 2020. Unfortunately suicide is something that many people have been affected by in some way, and despite some incredible efforts to raise awareness, get advice out to people, and generally try to prevent it from continuing, the statistics continue to alarm us at the scale of these tragedies.
While there is far more awareness now about mental health issues than in previous decades, there are still many misconceptions and lingering stigmas which need to be addressed and eradicated. Several organisations, charities and various groups around the world unite each year for World Suicide Prevention Day to raise awareness of how people can work together fewer people die by suicide. Each year has a different theme and area of focus, to highlight a specific aspect of suicide prevention that can be improved throughout the community. In 2019 and 2020, the theme has been Working Together To Prevent Suicide, focusing on how we can all do our part to reduce the risks of losing people to suicide.
In the World Health Organisation’s first report on suicide prevention (published in 2014), they found that suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year-olds globally. According to The Samaritans report from 2018, more than 6,800 people died of suicide in the UK and Republic of Ireland that year alone.
One of the main reasons that this continues at the rate it does is that many people feel that they are unable to seek the help they need, either because they feel like they shouldn’t talk to anyone about it because of antiquated and ridiculous social stigmas, or because they just don’t know where to turn. The best first piece of advice to give to anyone who is currently struggling is summed up perfectly on the Mental Health Foundation website:
“If you are concerned that you are developing a mental health problem you should seek the advice and support of your GP as a matter of priority. If you are in distress and need immediate help and are unable to see a GP, you should visit your local A&E.”
Although not widely publicised enough, there are several other places that people can go for help, information, advice or support. Although a doctor should always be the first point of call, any of these groups can help people in addition to the help you will receive from your GP, or can be an invaluable resource to those who are unable or unwilling to see their doctor for any reason. Whether you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or any other form of mental health issue, or even if you want to get more information on behalf of a friend or family member, there is help available. Hopefully this list will point you in the right direction to find the help that you need.
Samaritans is a charity who offer confidential, emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Call: 116 123 (Free 24-hour helpline)
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide.
Call: 0800 58 58 58 (The call centre is open daily from 5pm to midnight)
Heads Together is a mental health initiative which combines awareness campaigns to help tackle the stigmas of mental health and to change the conversation on mental health, along with fundraising for new mental health services and research.
Mental Health Foundation:
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
Papyrus was founded in 1997, and was initially set up as the Parents’ Association for the Prevention of Young Suicide, hence the name Papyrus. A phone line is available for confidential suicide prevention advice.
Call: 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm, and 2pm to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays)
Rethink Mental Illness:
An organisation which aims to provide all the help needed by people who suffer from, or are affected by mental illness. As their website explains:
“People with experience of mental illness, and those who care for them, are at the heart of everything we do. They shape our expert advice, information and training, and over 200 services. They also drive our campaigning and help to run over 140 local support groups. Supporting all this life-changing work are our incredible supporters, volunteers and staff members.”
Maytree is a national registered charity who provide an in-patient style residential service for people in suicidal crises, so they can talk about their suicidal thoughts and behaviour. The charity offers a free four-night, five-day one-off stay to adults over the age of 18 from across the UK. They provide a safe, confidential, non-medical environment for guests, so that they can discuss their thoughts and feelings, and feel heard without judgement.
Call: 020 7263 7070
Andy’s Man Club:
Andy’s Man Club is a network of advice, support and discussion groups, which started off as one group in the town of Halifax where 9 men turned up to the first meeting. Their focus is men’s mental health and trying to overcome the stigmas of mental health problems in men. Their website explains their beginnings and why it is important to encourage absolutely everyone to speak out if they are struggling and need help or support:
“Andy Roberts was loving and doting father, son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend. He was an all round top guy, one of the truly nicest people.
His love for his daughter was inspirational to see and the way he looked at her and idolised her was a blessing. Sadly and tragically without any warning Andrew, at 23 years old, was taken away from all his family and friends by suicide.
On average one man every 2 hours takes his life in the UK. It’s often said a factor is that men don’t talk. That’s why we were born to break down these stigmas. At ANDYSMANCLUB you don’t have to be suicidal or have a mental health problem, we just want to get men talking.”
Anxiety UK is a UK registered charity formed in 1970, and is a user-led organisation, run by sufferers and ex-sufferers of anxiety disorders. They offer completely confidential advice and support for those who suffer from a wide range of depression and anxiety related disorders. Their website explains their origins and ongoing mission:
“In 1970, the charity’s founders, Katharine and Harold Fisher established The Phobics’ Society from their home in Chorlton, Manchester, as a direct result of Katharine’s personal experience of agoraphobia and with the sole aim of getting support in place for others in the same situation.
Since then, we’ve become a nationwide organisation but we still have the same basic aims. Whether you have anxiety, stress, anxiety-based depression or a phobia that’s affecting your daily life, we’re here to help you. And we’re fully supported by an expert team of medical advisors.”
Call: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 10pm; Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm)
Men’s Health Forum:
Men’s Health Forum is a charity whose mission is to improve the health of men and boys in England, Wales and Scotland. It was founded in 1994 and offers 24-hour stress support for men via text, chat and email. This one is particularly useful for people who struggle with social anxiety and phone-related anxiety, as the chat and text options are far more suitable than the stress of speaking to someone on the phone.
Mind is a mental health charity in England and Wales, offering information and advice to people with mental health problems. The charity also lobbies the government and local authorities on behalf of mental illness sufferers.
Call: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.
Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD.
Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge
Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources.
Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge
A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.
Phone: 0333 212 7890 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.
Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare
Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum
Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
More Resources And Info:
National Suicide Prevention Alliance:
Mates In Mind:
Mates in Mind is a registered UK charity raising awareness, addressing the stigma of poor mental health and promoting positive mental wellbeing across workplaces.
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP):
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is dedicated to preventing suicide and suicidal behaviour, alleviating its effects, and providing a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers and suicide survivors. Their website includes articles, advice and resources to help people within specific vulnerable groups (such as
World Health Organisation:
Hope For The Day:
International resources, advice, and information to raise awareness about suicide and mental health issues.
For more advice and help, the NHS have details of more mental health resources.