Up to 100 mental health advocates and people affected suicide have gathered in Trafalgar Square to form a human green ribbon of green umbrellas for World Mental Health Day.
Suicide is something that everyone can help to prevent, the Mental Health Foundation says today as it marks World Mental Health Day on 10 October.
The charity is launching its WAIT advice which is based on four pieces of advice to help prevent people taking their own lives.
- Watch: look out for signs of distress and uncharacteristic behaviour such as withdrawing from contact with other people, excessive quietness, irritability, uncharacteristic outbursts and talking about death or suicide.
- Ask: are you having suicidal thoughts? You might worry that asking about suicide will put the idea into someone’s head. But the opposite is true: asking about it makes suicide less likely and may start a life-saving conversation. Being able to talk about how someone is feeling will help the other person feel better.
- It will pass: try to reassure the other person that their suicidal feelings will pass with time.
- Talk: stands for talk to others: encourage the other person to seek help from a GP or another health professional.
In 2018, there were 6,507 suicides registered in the UK. Three-quarters of these deaths were among men. Men in their late forties are at especially high risk of taking their own lives and women in this age group are also at relatively high risk. Suicides among young people are fewer - but the latest statistics show a troubling increase in recent years.
Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation Mark Rowland said "We should not be so scared of suicide that we can't talk about it,"
"Suicide a devastating and gut-wrenching tragedy that ends a life and shatters countless others. But we also know that we can all help prevent such deaths, as individuals and as a society. We are not powerless.
"Far better to say something that feels awkward than to stay silent, whether you're worried about another person or needing help yourself. Sometimes we need to talk about suicide."
Mark added: "We held the event in Trafalgar Square because suicide is something that touches people all over the world and the square is a global landmark. Our advice is for anyone who might find it helpful.
Notes to editors
The Mental Health Foundation is a mental health research charity. Prevention is at the heart of what we do. Our vision is for a world with good mental health for all.