Residents in Brighton & Hove are the inheritors of many wonderful assets. Some are physical and relate to the landscape or the built environment, others are cultural and have many roots and sources. Throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st, the city has consistently been a place which has witnessed a disproportionate number of suicides when compared to the nation as a whole. The group of people most at risk has varied substantially over the last 100+ years and there are no obvious and easy ways of dealing with causes. However that doesn’t mean that Brighton and Hove cannot become a Suicide Safer place to live, but to achieve this will need to involve people like you and me. I was privileged to attend last nights World Suicide Prevention Day event at the first 6th form College to become Suicide Safer, BHASVIC. We heard from the Deputy Principal of the steps the college is taking to ensure that the staff and students are aware that throughout the campus, there are people who will listen without judgement, if the person concerned needs someone to talk to. We heard a very moving story from Yvonne J Foster with her account of reaching out for help to others who she knew she could trust to listen to her, and of them reaching out to her.
The event was organised by Grassroots Sucide Prevention who are a small charity with no paid staff, but who, with the help of other organisations have managed to deliver training to 1000’s of people in Sussex. These organisations include The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Sussex Central YMCA, Brighton & Hove Council and Mind. Even the Brighton Argus was mentioned, some of their staff have been trained to improve the better reporting of Suicide. Grassroots have as their objective, to reach a point where 5% of the people in Brighton & Hove are signed up to the Tell Me Pledge. This is to ensure that there are at least as many people who have pledged to make the city suicide safer, as may at any point in time be considering suicide for themselves. It is easy to understand. I Pledge that I will:
- Tell someone if I’m struggling and need help;
- Reach out and tell you if I’m worried about you;
- Listen to you, without judgement if you need someone to talk to;
- Asking you, directly, if I think you’re trying to tell me about suicide;
- Help you to get support if you’re struggling and/or thinking about suicide.
If like me you feel that you can make this pledge then please click on this link.