Council’s attention turns to suicide prevention

Published February 13, 2020 at 13:22

Rossendale Council has joined forces with a national alliance that is aiming to eradicate suicide in the UK as part of a drive on suicide prevention.

The Zero Suicide Alliance’s coalition of like-minded partners are working together to help rid the UK of suicide by initially raising awareness of a free online suicide prevention training programme.

The free training, which takes just 20 minutes, teaches people how to recognise the warning signs and safeguard someone that could be contemplating suicide, talking openly to them and then directing them to appropriate support services.

The Council has agreed to formally sign up to a zero suicide agreement to be an active part of the alliance.

It is also committed to promoting the training both internally to Councillors, staff, those who carry out services on behalf of the Council.

Rossendale Council’s move to join forces with the Zero Suicide Alliance comes on the back of the local authority choosing to support local suicide prevention work given the growing awareness of this vitally important issue both locally and nationally.

The authority will be holding two SafeTalk training sessions on Tuesday, March 17 (9am for 9.15am start) and Wednesday, March 25 (1pm for 1.15pm start).

The sessions are being arranged in conjunction with Lancashire Mind and will be held in the Council Chamber at Future’s Park. They are free to attend and will teach participants practical advice on helping people experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Rossendale Council has also been supporting Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria’s ‘Let’s Talk to Prevent Male Suicide’ campaign.

The campaign encourages people to have open and direct conversations about suicide with men; asks employers to create workplace environments that promote openness and honesty and urges men to speak out if they are struggling.

The local authority promoted the recent Time to Talk Day when everyone is encouraged to have a conversation about mental health.

Plans are also being put in place for some local activity around World Suicide Prevention Day in September.

Councillor Alyson Barnes, Leader of Rossendale Council, said:

Recent ONS stats indicated a rise in suicide rates in Rossendale and so council members held a scrutiny event back in November 2019 at which we decided to prioritise work around suicide prevention.

Joining forces with the Zero Suicide Alliance is an important step. It’s vital we create a community-wide response on taking part in, and promoting, the training as it avoids tragedy but it also means our communities are stronger as the impact of a death is wide-ranging.

The concept that no life lost to suicide is acceptable is powerful and really focusses minds. It is a real motivating factor for us when planning our suicide awareness raising. Alongside all of our partner organisations we can build momentum and spread the message throughout Rossendale that there is hope and it is possible to heal.

If you are interested in attending the SafeTalk training sessions email:

Take the Zero Suicide Alliance training here. 

Find out more about the ‘Let’s Talk to Prevent Male Suicide’ campaign here

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