Free suicide prevention training
Free training is available to anyone who wants to know how to recognise and reach out to someone at risk of suicide, as part of World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September).
The International Day was set up by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and is being marked by Dudley Council with a call to action to undertake training which may help to save a life.
The most recent figures show that nearly 6,000 people took their own life in the UK in 2019, with men three times as likely to die by suicide than women. The numbers are still too high and suicide is preventable.
Dudley Council has a zero suicide ambition and has recently joined the Zero Suicide Alliance which offers advice, support and free online training. Their free suicide prevention training takes less than 30 minutes to complete and gives people the skills and confidence to help someone who may be considering taking their own life. Anyone can save a life; search Zero Suicide Alliance for more details.
David Stocks, writer, suicide prevention campaigner, community development worker and someone who considered taking his own life, has shared his story with Dudley Council to encourage people to be more informed and to take action to support themselves and those around them.
David found himself admitted to a psychiatric ward in the middle of the night, for his own safety, feeling lost and afraid. While on the ward he worked on a book he was writing, and with the support of staff, fellow patients and time he made a full recovery, leaving hospital a changed person, eager to use his experience to help others.
David went on to publish his book and volunteered with mental health charity Rethink, before embarking on a career in mental health support. Through his work, David has met with MPs and spoken about his experience in parliament, helping people to understand the importance of supporting people with mental health issues.
David, 55, from Walsall, said:
I shared this story, as it is a story of hope and recovery. When I was at my lowest, I didn’t see any hope and had no concept of recovery. No matter how desperate things may seem, there is always someone who can listen and understand. There are reasons for living and what seem like insurmountable problems can be overcome with a little help.
What made the most difference was to have someone understand and listen to me. That is the power of talking and listening. It is also the power of peer support, which has been fundamental to my journey and how to support people by understanding at least in some small way what they are going through.
The Suicide Alliance training helps people to recognise signs in themselves or others and shows ways to intervene, support and signpost to specialist services and I hope people take just thirty minutes out of their day to help make a difference.
Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care said:
We’re really grateful to David for sharing his story with us. It’s an immensely brave and positive thing to do. David was at an incredibly low point in his life but found the strength and resources he needed to help him through. It shows that it’s not just medical professionals who can make a difference, but a kind word or a listening ear to share worries and negative thoughts can also play a massive part in recovery. David helped to direct his own story, using writing as a way through and he now uses that skill and his own experiences to help others in a similar position.
We are encouraging our own staff to sign up to the training but would recommend it to everyone. We can all make a difference.
If you need to talk, there is support available for you
text SHOUT to 85258 or call Samaritans on 116 123 - both are free and available 24/7
The Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust mental health support helpline is available 24-7 for people of all ages needing urgent mental health support - Call 0800 008 6516
Dudley Talking Therapies Service offer a wide range of support via telephone, video and face to face in both 1:1 and group settings. To find out more acall 0800 953 0404.