NHS and National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group share personal stories through new Surviving Suicidal Thoughts support offer

NHS 24 and the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) are offering new support for people living with suicidal thoughts or considering ending their lives.

Short video clips are hosted on NHS inform, where people across Scotland tell their individual stories.

The people featured generously share the ways they have found to live beyond their suicidal thoughts or intentions.

The objective is to offer people in this situation support to better manage these thoughts and regain hope.

The videos are presented with information on how to listen and talk about suicidal feelings.

There’s advice on how to cope when it feels like you can’t, and what warning signs to look for as well as how to get emergency help via 999, Samaritans or 111.

Janice Houston, director of service delivery at NHS 24, said: “Our first priority is to provide a compassionate service to everyone who contacts us about their mental health, and we know some people would rather listen than talk – at least at first.

“We are very happy to be able to offer this option to people who are having suicidal thoughts and our thanks go to those who have so generously shared their journey.

“For anyone who is worried about themselves or someone else, we encourage you to listen to these stories and find someone who can listen to you – whether it’s a friend, a co-worker or family member, or one of the specialist helplines available 24 hours a day.

NSPLG Chair Rose Fitzpatrick CBE QPM said: “We are committed to exploring innovations in digital technology to help save lives from the tragedy of suicide.

“The creation of the new Surviving Suicidal Thoughts resource on the NHS Inform website is an important step towards better support for those with suicidal thoughts and their loved ones.

“This new resource, developed with our partners at NHS 24, is intended to help those who are thinking about suicide and those supporting someone who may be suicidal.

“It features people who have been through these tough times themselves describing what they went through and what helped each of them get through it.

“We hope these compelling personal stories will encourage people who are having suicidal thoughts to know that they can go through such dark times and also provide information for others on how to support someone who may be suicidal. We believe that suicide prevention can be everyone’s business.”

Neil Renton, a member of the NSPLG Lived Experience Panel, appears in one of the videos and urges people to seek help by talking about their mental health.

Recalling his own story, he said: “Right now I feel really good mentally, but it wasn’t always like this.

“I think what surprised me was that I didn’t expect to feel as bad as I did. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what made me feel down and depressed and made me feel made me feel suicidal.

“I think I was in denial because there was nothing that triggered it or triggered it, I come from a loving family, I’m well supported, the life and soul of the party.

“I felt I had no excuse, so I had a hard time understanding that I could have suffered mentally.

“It was difficult to be open and honest with others, whether it was my wife, my family, the medical staff, my friends and my colleagues.

“You were always afraid of being judged, people would look at you differently.

“I remember what it was like when I was suicidal and I felt like there was nothing else I could do.

“I would hate for anyone to be in the position I was in.

“I could see it as an edge I was running towards and no obstacle could stop me.

“My family would be like a wall that I would break down, my friends would make barbed wire that I could jump over and there was nothing stopping me from reaching that edge.

“And I just remember thinking, ‘I really need to say something at this point where I’m gone.

“I was dreaming about this big speech to my wife that I wanted to be poignant and memorable, but I just said ‘I fight’.

“Those two words were enough.

“We talked for hours, I gained confidence, I felt supported and from there I got the help I needed and I continue to work on my mental health to this day. .

“Please talk about it.”

The content is intended for anyone with suicidal thoughts.

It’s for those around them, family, friends, co-workers and others too.

The full stories are also on the NHS 24 YouTube channel.

Do you want to react to this article ? If yes, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.