As part of efforts to support people in the North East of Scotland, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) has delivered over 200 suicide prevention training sessions during the pandemic to more than 2,300 people.
The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland show that more than one person a week lost their life to suicide in Grampian in 2020.
The training has been delivered to people in Police Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council, NHS Grampian and HM Coastguard Grampian & Tayside; and the oil and gas, education, fishing and farming industries.
Liam Yule, North East Suicide Prevention Lead for SAMH, said: “We work with incredible partners across the North East of Scotland to provide people from different backgrounds and communities with the skills they need to help someone at risk of suicide.
“Thinking about suicide is very common – in fact, it’s estimated that one person in 20 is thinking about suicide at any one time – so training like this is really valuable for us all.
“As we collectively focus on recovery from the pandemic, we need to encourage people to talk about suicide, to feel able to ask for help, and to feel confident to give help when it’s needed.
"Suicide Prevention Day is a great time to shine a light on this.”
Police Scotland officers can be called upon to respond in different scenarios and to provide follow up support to groups affected by suicide.
Darren Bruce, who leads the Harm Reduction team in Police Scotland’s North East Division, said: “The police have an important role to play in helping prevent suicide. Working with SAMH means that together, we ensure the right people are getting the right support.”
HM Coastguard rescue teams are often called upon to assist people with thoughts of suicide, and the training has helped rescue officers to better support those who need it.
April Doig, Senior Coastal Operations Officer at HM Coastguard Tayside & Grampian, said: “The training has helped to open the conversation and dissolve the stigma around mental health. It also helps our Coastguard rescue officers better help and support those in our communities, their own friends and families and each other.
"With so many people experiencing mental health problems, especially during such a difficult year, this training is invaluable.”
Along with emergency services and frontline workers, the training has been well received by employees of Aberdeenshire Council.
Mitch Robertson, Health Promotion Officer, Wellbeing Team at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “I firmly believe to improve one’s wellbeing there needs to be information shared on topics like suicide and mental health because we need to reduce stigma and encourage people to speak up. I try and set up workshops to get people involved and raise awareness.
“The training is beneficial because again its raising awareness of a tricky topic. It will help reduce the stigma around suicide.”
SAMH is encouraging those affected by suicide in any way to download the free Prevent Suicide app, which offers support for those living across the region. There’s also information and support at www.samh.org.uk.
If you’re thinking of suicide and need help now, you can call the Samaritans 24/7 free of charge on 116 123.