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The NHS in Somerset, voluntary organisations, and Somerset County Council are urging people to complete free online training on how to talk about suicide for World Suicide Prevention Day on the 10th September 2020.

They have joined together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide and are aiming for more than 100 people to have completed the 20 minute session on the day.

The training, developed by the Zero Suicide Alliance, is for anyone in Somerset who has an interest in learning more about suicide and gaining lifesaving skills and knowledge.

The session includes facts surrounding suicide and provides useful advice and guidance on how to understand the signs that someone may be at risk. Examples of different scenarios and how to talk comfortably and directly about suicide are included.

Dr Peter Bagshaw, Somerset GP and clinical lead for mental health and dementia at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, has produced a special podcast on the subject as part of the weekly Somerset Emotional Wellbeing podcast he produces with fellow GP, Dr Tressider.

Dr Bagshaw explains

“Suicide is a major issue for society and a leading cause of years of life lost. Suicides are not inevitable. There are many ways in which services, communities, individuals and society, as a whole, can help to prevent suicides. Suicide can affect anybody and there isn’t a community in Somerset where people haven’t been touched by suicide.

Only a minority of people, who complete suicide, are known to mental health services.

We need to raise awareness and spread the message that it’s time to talk about suicide. It’s time to say, let’s talk. It’s important to remember than talking to someone in distress won’t make the situation worse.

We’re encouraging anyone in Somerset to take 20 minutes out of their day on World Suicide Prevention Day to complete the training to learn how to support someone who is at risk of suicide. It is safety training, like learning resuscitation techniques. It could save a life.”

Councillor Clare Paul, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Somerset County Council, said:

 “We are assisting with highlighting Somerset Suicide Prevention Partnership Group’s message that suicide is everyone’s business. Whether you work in a hospital or own a local shop, we can all make a difference in reaching out and offering support to those in need. We know that if someone is having suicidal thoughts, receiving support from someone else can make a significant difference.

“Support is available if you need it on the Healthy Somerset website. Please do visit this site after you have completed the training if you need to talk. The training may be challenging if you have been personally impacted by a suicide or attempted suicide in the past. Please consider having someone supportive nearby or agreeing with a friend or colleague to do the training at the same time and then contact each other afterwards.”

Visit the Healthy Somerset Website

Join in the conversation on Twitter and tell us how you found the training by tweeting #letstalkaboutsuicide2020

Listen to the Somerset Emotional Wellbeing podcast which has a range of subjects, from ‘Rethink Mental Illness’ to ‘Adapting to Change (The New Normal)’. Available on Spotify, Apple podcasts, and all other podcast apps. Visit:

Mental health resources:

There is some useful guidance published nationally, providing information and resources linked to mental health and wellbeing.