Milton Keynes Council urges residents ‘See the signs, save a life’

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‘See the Signs, Save a Life’ is a Milton Keynes based campaign to encourage everyone to recognise the signs of someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts and know what action to take to support them.

Acknowledging that one in five of us will experience suicidal thoughts some time in our life, the council is undertaking a social media campaign, providing printed leaflets and offering training to the community around how to see the signs of suicidal risk.

The campaign has been launched to support and expand on the Samaritans national ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign aimed at empowering the public to act to prevent suicide on the railways.

The information centres on the signs to look out for and what you can do to help. It also encourages the community not to be afraid to ask directly about suicide.

Although some people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts may not show any signs, some of the warning signs might include:

Talking or complaining of feelings hopeless and that life is not worth living

Talking about feeling trapped, such as saying they can’t see any way out of their current situation

Saying that friends and family would be better off without them

Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide

A sudden lift in mood after a period of severe depression

Looking into methods or the means to end their own life

Putting all their affairs in order, such as sorting out possessions or making a will

Saying that they can hear voices telling them to end their own life

If you notice any of these signs in someone then encourage them to talk about their feelings; then direct them towards the different sources of help available like the Samaritans.

If you are experiencing these feelings yourself or have serious concerns for someone else, you should seek urgent professional help from your GP or by calling 999.

“Suicidal thoughts affect one in five of us in our lifetime but most people don’t go on to take their life because of a successful intervention; which can start with something as simple as asking someone how they feel,” said Derys Pragnell, head of public health programmes for Milton Keynes Council.

“It is important to See the Signs early and take action. There are lots of ways to get help and support and we hope this campaign increases awareness and people’s confidence to raise and discuss this important issue.”

Councillor Hannah O’Neill, cabinet member for healthier and stronger communities added: “As communities and individuals, we need to learn to recognise the signs when someone is feeling at their lowest and understand how we can help; it is possible to make a real difference in another person’s life by having the courage to start a conversation.”

A full range of advice and information including how to access a short training course is available by visiting:

https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/public-health/see-the-signs