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Glasgow Marks Suicide Prevention Week

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This month, from 6 – 11 September, Scotland is standing together during Suicide Prevention Week to raise awareness and shine a light on suicide and what we can do to keep each other safe.

In Glasgow, our Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) will be running a week-long campaign surrounding World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, to raise awareness in the city about suicide prevention and the training available to anyone who would like to learn how to recognise and support someone at risk of suicide. 

This year’s Public Health Scotland (PHS) theme for Suicide Prevention Week is the impact of poverty and the high rates of suicide in Scotland’s poorest communities. People living in our poorest communities have been found to be three times more likely to die by suicide than those living in the most affluent communities. 

The latest Scottish Public Health Observatory Report on Suicides reported that in 2020, 104 people in Glasgow took their own lives, a tragic loss of life with long-lasting impacts on bereaved families, friends and communities. 

In Glasgow, to mark all the lives sadly lost to suicide, the Glasgow City Suicide Prevention Partnership (GCSPP) is hosting its annual Celebration of Life event on World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September, in the Tranquillity Garden at Campbell House in Gartnavel Royal Hospital between 1 and 2pm. 

The event will be conducted with Coronavirus (COVID-19) safety measures in place and is open to anyone who has been affected by suicide.  It’s an opportunity to come together to honour loved ones lost to suicide and celebrate their lives.

The Celebration of Life event was first set up in 2013 by the GCSPP (formerly known as the Glasgow City Choose Life Group), and a rowan tree was planted in the Tranquillity Garden, which has become the focal point for the Celebration each year. Those who attend are given the opportunity to light a candle and leave a message for a loved one tied to our rowan tree. 

One of the founding members of the multi-agency Celebration of Life event, Larry Callary, said: “It’s so important that every year we make the effort to come together and organise this event to remember all those touched by suicide in Glasgow. Our event is an opportunity for people whose lives have been affected by suicide to reflect, contemplate and remember”.

Earlier in the day on World Suicide Prevention Day, Gambling With Lives will be holding a Big Step event to highlight the effects of gambling addiction on suicide risk. Members of the GCSPP will also join campaigners walking from Firhill Stadium to George Square to raise awareness of gambling-related suicides in Scotland. The charity supports families who have been bereaved by gambling-related suicides and estimates that they account for up to 650 deaths a year in the United Kingdom. 

Pauline Toner, Glasgow City Suicide Prevention Coordinator from Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) said: “Sadly every three to four days someone takes their own life in Glasgow. Our Glasgow City Suicide Prevention Partnership is growing every year and offering awareness raising and training opportunities to more and more organisations. Through our joint actions we hope to improve the situation; however, suicide prevention is not the job of one person or one service or group. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business: we can all act to try and prevent suicide.”

“If you’re worried about someone, you can start a conversation with them, ask them how they’re feeling, listen to them and let them know that you care. You don’t need to have the answers. If it feels right you can ask them if they’re thinking about suicide, and if they are you can work with them to keep them safe and get help.”

Where to Get Help

If you’re experiencing confusing or distressing thoughts, or if people around you have expressed concern about your wellbeing, arrange an appointment with your GP or phone NHS 24 on 111.

If it would help you to talk with someone, freephone:
• Samaritans – 116 123
• Breathing Space – 0800 83 85 87

If you, or someone you know, needs URGENT HELP please phone the emergency services on 999.

Find out more about suicide prevention, local resources and support available from the Glasgow City Suicide Prevention Partnership webpage.

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