This Friday, (September 10) marks World Suicide Prevention Day and the start of Greater Manchester’s Month of Hope, which runs until World Mental Health Day on 10 October.
The month, which is now in its third year, is about raising awareness of suicide by encouraging everyone in Greater Manchester to have open conversations about and play a role in preventing suicide, while inspiring hope across the city-region.
The Month of Hope is delivered as part of the Shining a Light on Suicide Campaign, which aims to bring the issue of suicide out of the dark and break the stigma that surrounds it, following research showing that talking honestly about suicide helps save lives.
This year, residents are being encouraged to help spread hope across the city-region by sharing what gives them hope, with friends, family, colleagues and on social media using the hashtag #MonthofHope
Judd Skelton, Chair of Greater Manchester Suicide Prevention Programme Board said: “The Month of Hope is about spreading hope across our city-region. Last year, more than 200 people took their lives in Greater Manchester and that’s why this month and the Shining a Light on Suicide Campaign are so important.
“You don’t have to be a healthcare professional to help someone who is feeling suicidal – you just need to ask and listen. I would encourage everyone to take part in the Learn to Save a Life training. It only takes 20 minutes and it will help you feel more confident to ask someone if they are struggling with suicidal thoughts.”
Residents can get involved in the Month of Hope by attending any of the events and activities planned, including visiting the Speak Their Name Greater Manchester Suicidal Memorial Quilt on display at the Lowry.
For those who have been suicide bereaved there are two Vigils of Remembrance taking place:
Those attending Parklife or the New Order concert this week at Heaton Park, should look out for Shining a Light on Suicide volunteers raising awareness of the Shining a Light on Suicide Campaign and giving away campaign merchandise.
The Speak Their Name Greater Manchester Suicide Memorial Quilt, made in memory of some of those who have died by suicide in the city-region, will be displayed at the Lowry Theatre Gallery. The quilt is made of 54 unique squares, each one lovingly created by someone bereaved by suicide, supported by Rebecca Jackson, a fibre artist bereaved herself by suicide.
Words of Hope is an online poetry reading event with contributions from Greater Manchester residents, surrounding the theme of hope. The event will be available to watch on the GM Words of Hope Facebook page.
Suicide affects us all. Encourage someone to talk before suicide seems their only option. Together we can help prevent suicide. Find out how at www.shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk
If you’re struggling to cope call Samaritans on 116 123
If you’re bereaved by suicide, you do not need to deal with your grief alone. Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can find the right support for you. Visit: www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk
Take the free 20 minute training to learn how to save a life: www.bit.ly/savealife20