‘Creating hope through action’: World Suicide Prevention Day 2023

World Suicide Prevention Day sees authorities and organisations across the globe team up to offer support and reduce the amount of people thinking about taking their own life.

This year World Suicide Prevention Day, which was first established in 2003, falls on 10th September and has the theme ‘creating hope through action’ which has dominated the occasion since 2021. The awareness day aims to make people aware of how suicide continues to drastically affect our world and offers support and advice of how people who are feeling suicidal can seek help.

don't give up. You are not alone, you matter signage on metal fence

It is currently estimated that there are 700,000 suicides per year worldwide.

One of the many local authorities who are raising awareness for suicide prevention are Northamptonshire education leaders who have introduced a pioneering programme aimed at school children and staff.

The groundbreaking approach that was adopted by Nene education Trust in Northamptonshire, has seen more than 400 teachers and trust staff undergo specialist suicide awareness training which was prompted by the tragic death of a Manor School student named Callum Woodcroft in 2022.

Matt Coleman, director of school improvement at the trust and Callum’s former headteacher, contacted the suicide prevention charity Kelly’s Heroes to collaborate on creating a package of specialised support available to all eight schools in the trust, which he hopes will also be utilised by schools worldwide.

‘I was driven to make some positive change out of something so tragic that impacted so many,’ Matt said. ‘We have worked with sherry and the team at Kelly’s Heroes to create a package of support that is available to all schools in the county and beyond. The charity’s team of specialists visited the trust sites to shine a spotlight on this very emotive and often taboo subject, its potential causes, and effects.’

In addition to the efforts presented to raise awareness for suicide in Northamptonshire, analysis by RIFT has found more work needs to be done to support people working in skilled trade positions as rates of suicide plague the sector.

Experts found that although rates of suicide fell across England and Wales in 2021 by 7.7%, people in skilled trades occupations accounted for 15% of all suicides in the two countries.

Against this backdrop, of the 668 suicides registered across skilled trades occupations, 307 were attributed to those working within the skilled construction and building trade sub-sector. A deeper dive into these statistics shows that of these 307 suicides, 78% were registered specifically within the construction and building trades. 

Bradley Post, managing director of RIFT, said: ‘The choice to take your own life is rarely down to one specific factor. While it is an extremely complex issue, the data does suggest it is more prevalent within certain occupations such as skilled trade roles and construction. 

‘We hear first-hand about the range of issues facing those within the sector on a daily basis, whether it be financial or otherwise. That’s why we work so closely with The Lighthouse Club in order to provide support and advice during tough times and the work they do is quite frankly remarkable.’

Image: Dan Meyers

More on this topic:

Government boosts suicide prevention fund for charity sector


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