Here to Listen – suicide prevention awareness for East Ayrshire

In support of this year’s Suicide Prevention Week (9 – 15 September 2019), the Council held a Here to Listen suicide prevention awareness event attended by employees and members of the local community.

The event provided information about new suicide prevention resources that are available on the Council’s website.

The Health and Safety Service has created Suicide Support Directories, including a special directory just for young people. The directories bring together all local and national suicide support contact details in one place under specific topic headings, including addictions, bereavement and bullying.

These resources, including the NHS Scotland and NHS Education Scotland animation “Ask Tell Save a Life” can be accessed from the Council’s website

In addition to the online directories, a new community Here to Listen ‘Z card’ has been developed that will be circulated to community facilities throughout East Ayrshire. The ‘Z card’ is credit card sized but unfolds to provide detailed information about suicide prevention and where you can turn for help if you or someone you know has had thoughts of suicide.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council attended the event with Councillor Jim McMahon, Cabinet Member for Older People and Community Safety. He said: “Last year 26 people in East Ayrshire took their own lives. The emotional impact on families, friends and communities bereaved by suicide is devastating and can have long lasting negative effects on those left behind.

“Here to Listen is our commitment to support our employees and the local community to talk openly about suicide and to help stop any more lives being lost to suicide. Suicide is one of the main causes of death in Scotland today, with two people dying by suicide each day. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business and it can be preventable, anyone can act on the signs that they may see in others.

“This is why the Council, through a strong partnership between Health and Safety, Vibrant Communities and the East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, is providing safeTALK and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training First Aid courses to our employees and local community groups. Over 1000 employees and 100 members of the community have now received suicide awareness training and this is just the beginning.”

David Doran, Health and Safety Manager, reflected on the excellent work being done within our communities to reduce the risk of suicide and the positive impact that collaborative working can achieve. He said “One life lost to suicide is one life too many but through working together we can make a difference. I would encourage anyone wishing to get involved to contact us or take part in one of the many events and initiatives taking place.”

During Suicide Prevention Week, Vibrant Communities will be hosting Mental Health and Suicide Prevention information stands at the North West Area Centre Kilmarnock, Stewarton Area Centre, Yipworld, Cumnock, Dalmellington Area Centre, the Tower Room in Kilmarnock Railway Station and the Shapeshift Fitness Studio in Auchinleck.

The CHIP Van will also be offering free health checks during the week and highlighting the link between physical health and mental health. For details on where the CHIP Van will be call 01563 576354.