Creating hope through action – World Suicide Prevention Day 2022
TW: this article talks about suicide.
If you feel like you might act on suicidal feelings, please call 999 for emergency support.
10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day for us to reflect on what we’re doing to reduce the stigma around seeking help for mental health issues and provide support for people experiencing suicidal feelings.
Just one person choosing to take their own life is one too many, but in 2020, 5,224 people died by suicide in England and Wales. Men are more likely to die by suicide, making up 75% of the figures for England and Wales. In Bristol, Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, suicide rates are higher than the national average.
Creating hope through action
This year’s theme for World Suicide Prevention Day 2022 is creating hope through action. It’s about:
- Recognising that every action, big or small, can create hope for someone who is struggling.
- Letting our loved ones know that we’re always here to support them.
- Telling our governments, globally and locally, to make suicide prevention a priority.
At Second Step, we create hope through action by:
- Recognising that to help people with their mental distress, we also need to help them with the problems causing that distress, such as past trauma, debt, housing instability and employment issues – see our Hope project supporting men aged 30-64 in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
- Creating and connecting spaces where people can come together to talk or do activities with no pressure to open up – see our men’s mental health Stepladder project in Somerset.
- Providing emotional and practical support to people bereaved by suicide in Bristol, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire – see our Beside Project.
- Sharing our knowledge and experience to try to drive change nationwide – see our suicide prevention awareness work.
“Hope saved my life” – how our trailblazing suicide prevention project is saving hundreds of men’s lives
Anyone can be at risk of suicide, but statistics show that men aged 30-64 are particularly high risk in Bristol, Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Hope is a men’s mental health project that breaks the mould. Mental health issues are often linked to stressful and traumatic life circumstances, such as debt or employment problems. We can’t unlink these issues, so we need to solve them together in a trauma-informed way. The Hope project offers this combined emotional and practical support to help men find a way forwards.
Recent research from the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West (NIHR ARC West) shows that men supported by the Hope project saw a 50% reduction in their depression and suicidal thoughts after six months, and 26% felt more in control of their finances.
One Hope project client said:
“When I first met up with (Hope project worker) I was determined that life was at the end and I was fed-up and she turned it around. Like I couldn’t get a bank account and she got me a bank account… I blow everything up into a really big problem and she cut it down into digestible chunks… helped me through all of it. It’s been great.”
The Hope project shows that by helping men take action to manage the problems causing distress in their life, they can start to see a brighter future, and find the hope to move forwards.
Read more about the Hope project.
Stepladder – connecting with men in Somerset
Our Stepladder project in Somerset works with groups and organisations to help men find new ways to connect, support each other, and get any other support they need.
We link up with all sorts of clubs, groups and activities across Somerset, from talking groups to football sessions to gardening clubs.
There’s no pressure for men to open up, and men often find that simply getting together to do an activity can work wonders for their mental health and help them feel less isolated.
But Stepladder is also here to make sure men can find the support they need if they need it, such as signposting men towards support services, such as employment advice and opportunities.
Find out more about Stepladder, including local groups and activities for men in Somerset.
The Beside Project – bereavement support for people affected by suicide
The Beside Project is here for you if you’ve recently lost someone to suicide. We support people in Bristol, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.
We make sure that our clients have the support they need, including emotional support, accessing further help for bereavement and mental health issues, and support with the practical aspects of bereavement (such as funeral planning and inquests).
Find out more about the Beside Project.
Raising awareness for our suicide prevention work
- Evaluating the Hope project, published in BMC Psychiatry and the Journal of Mental Health.
- Kerry McCarthy MP for Bristol East meets with Second Step to talk about the Hope project and how we can replicate our approach across Bristol.
- Stepladder team up with Scruffs Workwear to hand out free bacon butties and chat with self-employed men working in construction in Somerset.