Suicide Prevention week

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An ‘Act of Remembrance’ will take place at the Town and County Hall (Town House), Aberdeen on Wednesday, September 11 at 2pm to mark Suicide Prevention Week (September 9 - 13) and to remember those lost to suicide.

The event is open to the public and residents from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire can attend.

Aberdeen Lord Provost George Adam will welcome visitors before an address is provided by the Chaplain of Aberdeen’s Royal Cornhill Hospital Donald Meston and refreshments will be served.

Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster added: “The Act of Remembrance is a poignant occasion and it is the first time such an activity has taken place to mark Suicide Prevention Week in the area.

“I encourage people from across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to attend to pay their respects. Suicide is an issue that has received much media attention and it affects many age groups. It is important we raise awareness and encourage people to seek help.”

A tree of remembrance for people to add messages will also be available alongside a book to capture thoughts, feelings and words of warmth for those loved and lost.

The event has been organised by Choose Life coordinator for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Neil Murray who said: “Suicide devastates families and communities leaving people with so many questions unanswered: the feeling of loss and helplessness leaves a lasting impact.

“This event, which is non religious, is an opportunity for those affected by the loss of someone to suicide to gain comfort and support from others.”

A poetry recital from Kathleen Findlay, from Stonehaven, - who sadly lost a parent to suicide - will also form part of the event.

When Kathleen was a teenager her mother took her own life and she was sent back to school with no-one knowing what had happened.

One of the challenges is to break down the stigma associated with suicide and encourage people to talk about their fears.

She believes that talking about her mum’s suicide is an important part of trying to come to terms with her loss and she would encourage others who have lost someone to suicide to seek help and share their thoughts.

Kathleen has shared her feelings within an anthology of poetry entitled ‘Help’ that she sells to raise money for Cruse, a bereavement charity she devotes her time to alongside her work with an oil services company in Aberdeen.

Kathleen will be reciting one of her poems at the ‘Act of Remembrance’.

To be able to help other people deal with bereavement shows courage and inspiration and Kathleen said: “I know what it is like to lose someone, having lost my mum when she took an overdose.

“Not only that, I have lost members of my family to illness and a road accident so my experiences can help me relate to others going through the same thing.

“My work with Cruse helps people understand how important it is to talk, even if like me it is years later.

“It is so important that people don’t bottle things up, it is better to be open and get it out, spill the beans – that is a line from one of my poems!”