East Ayrshire: Suicide prevention workers can help

East Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership (EAHSCP) encourages people to register as a suicide first aider.

Many people who have already signed up as suicide rescuers have said they can already see how important the role has become, even in a short time.

With many people fighting their own battles, life can sometimes feel like a lonely place.

This is why it is so important that we take care of each other and know how to offer support and compassion to help each other.

The aim of the EAHSCP is to ensure that people take care of themselves and others, and to make this the norm for talking about mental health.

Talking to someone can help

Advice is available to boost your confidence when faced with concerns about someone. You could be the first step in helping them get better and could potentially save their life.

You can also become a suicide first aider through ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training).

Health and Safety Support Officer Jane McKie leads the Here to Listen suicide prevention strategy.

She talked about ASIST courses and how we have the power to save a life.

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Jane said: “To date, our suicide responders have provided crisis intervention to 123 people, 60% of whom have been referred to suicide prevention counseling with Beautiful Inside and Out.

“We know this strategy has saved lives and provided essential support to people when they needed it most.

“Since the initial ASIST courses, many of our suicide first aiders have gone on to do so much more, such as continuing with additional training in psychological first aid and mental health.

“They have also increased their skill levels for both immediate crisis response and the broader wellness agenda, for the well-being of themselves, their colleagues and the communities they serve.

“They said it made them better listeners, better colleagues, and ultimately better people.”

Jane also provided testimonies from suicide rescuers themselves.

One said: “I was involved with Here to Listen from the start, as I was one of the first employees to take the ASIST course in December 2018.

“I guess as a union representative in the workplace and helping people with their problems at work, I felt that was something I would be comfortable doing.

“The work done by the local authorities on this campaign has been nothing short of amazing.”

Cumnock Chronicle: "If anyone is having suicidal thoughts or is worried about someone who may be, please contact us for help.“If anyone is having suicidal thoughts or is worried about someone who may be, please contact us for help.”

Another added: ‘I got involved in suicide prevention after seeing the effect it has on families in our communities, from when they first see the signs and can’t or don’t know not who could help, and up to the consequences of losing someone.

“It is important that our communities have knowledge about suicide, knowing that there is help for everyone who needs it.

“I have noticed that since the start of Here to Listen, our employees have taken notice and looked after each other. Some have come to us and expressed their concern to their colleagues, which I find it awesome.

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“I would just like to add that if anyone is having suicidal thoughts or is worried about someone who might be, please contact us for help.”

To find out more about ASIST courses or to register for the next intake, contact healthandsafety@east-ayrshire.gov.uk

If you yourself are struggling to cope and feel overwhelmed, support is available here.