Communities urged to support ‘suicide first aiders’ campaign

Posted on: 23 November 2017

Devon residents are being called on to help prevent people in their communities from taking their own lives by supporting a project to train up hundreds of specialist suicide ‘first aiders’.

Suicide devastates lives, families and communities – in Devon two people take their own lives every week.

Local Authorities, GPs, the NHS and the voluntary sector work closely together to prevent suicide.

But often it is communities who are better placed to recognise the early signs of distress and intervene before a person’s problems reach crises point.

Now Devon County Council’s Public Health team are backing a campaign by Suicide Safer Communities CIC, a crowd funded not-for-profit organisation to train a countywide network of 625 suicide prevention ‘First Aiders, which will complement and enhance Devon County Council’s extensive suicide prevention work.

A specially designed training and support package has been developed and to help roll this out Suicide Safer Communities CIC aims to raise £100,000 by Christmas to train community volunteers so they can recognise when someone may have thoughts of suicide and intervene to help ensure their immediate safety.

The community campaign is accompanied by this powerful video:

The video features people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds from Devon and features a series of statistics that brings the message of suicide prevention home.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Public Health, said: “Suicide affects people of all ages and

Cllr Roger Croad

backgrounds and a support network of especially trained volunteers, alongside our own prevention and early support workers, will really help us to reach out further and identify those at risk earlier to ensure they stay out of danger.

“I would urge communities to do everything they can to support this initiative. Suicide is preventable and suicide prevention is a shared responsibility where we can all have the potential to make a difference and save a life.”

Chukumeka Maxwell, the Director of Suicide Safer Communities CIC said:

Chukumeka Maxwell

“As someone who has been personally affected by suicide, I wanted to create something that enables a community level response. The more I spoke to colleagues and friends about the issue the more I realised it affects everyone.

“In Devon alone, two to three people every week die from suicide and our film points out how it doesn’t need to be this way. Our project will enable any organisation or individual to nominate friends or colleagues for the training courses. This will create a network of suicide prevention ‘First Aiders” across the county – all powered by donations and provided to those who need it, for free.”

Posted in: Community | Health and Wellbeing