On Monday night more than 70 people attended a meeting at the Penrith Rugby Club to hear Kate Bainbridge talk about the utterly tragic consequences of losing her son Ben to suicide in June 2014. Kate bravely talked about the devastation caused to herself, her family and to Ben’s friends and colleagues, she also showed slides of Ben as he was growing up. This was an incredibly poignant way of illustrating the utterly devastating consequences of losing a loved on to suicide.
Juliet Gray, from Carlisle Eden MIND then went on to talk about the importance of prevention and crucially the importance of local people seeing this as a community wide public health that is everyone’s business issue that they can and must take an interest in.
People who attended were introduced to the ‘key messages’ that:
On average, one Cumbrian resident dies every week by suicide, a shocking statistic that should give us all real cause for concern.
She went on to say that ‘some suicides CAN be prevented’, she talked about steps people can and should take to support people who may be considering taking their lives.
Crucially she told the audience that we should all ask, ‘are you ok’ it won’t harm and ‘listen it might help. She went on to say that ‘many people with thoughts of suicide do, in some way, ask for help. Talking about suicide with someone does not increase the risk of suicidal behaviour and that local people should be ‘helpfully nosey’.
Just listening is one of the most helpful things you can do. Try not to judge, or to attempt to solve all of someone’s problems for them’.
This evening which although very emotionally challenging was very much appreciated by those who attended and many said, as a result of having attended that they would be taking direct action to encourage people to think differently about mental health and wellbeing in their community and work settings.
The event was organised as part of the Suicide Safer Eden Initiative which is a grass roots, bottom up, initiative to get local people throughout Eden District thinking about what they can do to help save a life and avoid the massive harm and devastation experienced by those people who lose loved ones to suicide.
In view of the success of this meeting the steering group will be giving serious consideration to the possibility of running the ‘event’ in different parts of Eden district if you would be interested in hosting it in your area please contact Juliet.
To find out more about the ‘Suicide Safer Eden Initiative’ or if you are interested in local training about suicide prevention, please contact Juliet Gray at email@example.com