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World Suicide Prevention day 2020 - statement



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NPCC policing lead for suicide prevention ACC Charlie Doyle said: “With the recent publication of the ONS figures for 2019 indicating another rise in registered suicides across the UK, the theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention day of ‘Reaching Out’ has my wholehearted support. Word Suicide Prevention Day is encouraging everyone to take a minute to reach out to someone – whether it’s a complete stranger, a close family member or a friend. They are conversations that can take seconds, but can so easily change a life. 

Indeed the unprecedented events of this year have brought unique challenges and pressures on us all, which is why it’s more important than ever to make time to check in on those around us.

Our main focus remains upon the importance of understanding that suicide is preventable not inevitable. We know that a small conversation is all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts – whether that’s reaching out to ask an old friend how they’ve been, or trusting your instincts and approaching a stranger struggling to contain their emotions as you walk past them on the street. These are conversations that save lives, and we can all provide a lifeline to someone experiencing a mental health crisis by simply starting up a conversation and taking time to listen.

Every contact that someone in crisis has represents an opportunity to intervene, offer support and prevent them from death by suicide. In their role the Police are often the first responders to someone in crisis, they are life savers, confidantes, good listeners, problem-solvers and sign-posters, sometimes spending many hours in difficult situations with people who, at that time, cannot see a way forward with their life.

With the right support people can find their way through a suicidal crisis and onto recovery, and fortunately we see this on a daily basis thanks to the extensive intervention and support work already taking place across England, Scotland and Wales.

As police we know we have an important role to play when it comes to suicide prevention, but we cannot tackle this alone, and as such, we are collaborating with a number of partner agencies, national charities and communities across the UK to try and raise awareness of mental health vulnerabilities.

By sharing data, pooling our resources and combined expertise and supporting organisations such as the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) in Real Time Suicide surveillance pilots, we will continue to work to develop our understanding of those at risk of suicide and seek solutions that work across policing, rail industry, health and social care and local authorities. The importance of working together simply cannot be overestimated, and through effective collaboration we can and are saving lives.  

I invite you to muster the collective effort of your communities, officers, staff and partners today and in the days that follow to avoid another preventable tragedy and the devastation that this can cause.”    

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