February 24, 2024

South West News

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‘Towards Zero’ events planned to help reduce number of suicides in Cornwall

A series of five online events have been planned as part of the ongoing drive to reduce the number of suicides in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Called ‘Towards Zero’, it will be streamed on the Safer Cornwall Facebook Page between Monday and Friday, November 8 to 12, at 7pm.

The ‘Towards Zero’ movement began in the USA as a way of talking to and engaging with communities to help to prevent suicides.

The event usually takes place face-to-face in venues across Cornwall but last year, for the first time, it was held virtually in the form of a summer school due to Covid-19 restrictions.

While life is now beginning to return to some kind of normality, it was felt that the safest option this year was to hold the event virtually once again.

Each of the five sessions, which tie in with this year’s theme of Hope Through Action, will be available to view after the event on the Council’s website.

Subjects will include:

  • 8 November – Farming and Agriculture: What real life stories tell us about the emotional demands and needs of this profession.
  • 9 November – Caring for someone: The impact on mental wellbeing of looking after someone who has suicidal thoughts and the support that is available for carers.
  • 10 November – Social media and suicide: A closer look at the evidence to explore the impact of what we see online and in the media.
  • 11 November – How can I get involved in Suicide Prevention? Exploring practical, safe ways that can help everyone to be part of suicide prevention.
  • 12 November – ‘Hope through action’: A panel session with local suicide prevention innovation fund projects supporting our communities.

Head over to the Safer Cornwall Facebook page to sign up for these events.

Paula Chappell, Public Health Practitioner and suicide prevention lead in Cornwall’s Public Health team, said:

“This is a hugely important issue and event and I would urge as many people as possible, whatever your age or background, to sign up and listen in.

“Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy and has devastating consequences for families, friends and communities.

“This is why suicide prevention must remain a priority as life starts to return to normal and we all learn to live with Covid. We need to face it and talk about it together, and this is what the Towards Zero event helps us to do.

“This event is an opportunity to think about our own mental health and that of others, and the ways we can keep well and seek support when necessary.”

Cllr Dr Andy Virr, Portfolio Holder for Adults and Public Health, added:

“We are working towards real change in how we support people having suicidal thoughts, as well as those who have been bereaved by suicide.

“The stigma needs to be tackled so more people feel able to ask for help and access support, and events like Towards Zero play a vital role in that. I would encourage everyone to sign up for the sessions.”

More promotional information via the social media channels will be available closer to the date.

If you have any questions you would like answered around these subjects or suicide prevention work more generally, you can email suicideprevention@cornwall.gov.uk at any time.

For more on the help and support available, visit the Council’s ‘Feeling Suicidal?’ page at www.cornwall.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/mental-health/feeling-suicidal/

The Council and local NHS recently launched the ‘Orange Button’ scheme which aims to make people who have received mental health and suicide prevention training more visible to those who need support.

For more information, and to find out how to receive suicide prevention training, visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/orangebutton

Press release published on November 4, 2021

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