Taking a minute to ask someone how they are feeling could help save their life.
That’s the message of Suicide Prevention Week from 9-15 September.
Organisers want to remind people that taking a minute or two to ask a friend, family member or work colleague who has been feeling down about how they are feeling, is sometimes all it takes.
Susan McMorrin suicide prevention lead in South Lanarkshire said: “If someone you are close to shows signs of not being themselves, you will normally notice.
“When changes in their behaviour begin to worry you – even if the signs come and go – the most important aspect is to ask them about it.
“Someone talking openly about their feelings can help them get clarity about what is troubling them, so starting a conversation helps them gain a perspective on their distress.
“You don’t need to have a solution to their problems – being there for them and listening, without judgement, shows that you care and their distress, and ultimately their happiness, is important to you.”
Lynne MacDonald, suicide prevention lead in North Lanarkshire, added: “Don’t be scared to ask someone if they are thinking about suicide.
“It won’t put the thought into their head if it wasn’t there before, but it can be a big relief for them to be able to open up fully and acknowledge they need help and support.
“By taking the time to show you care and are there to listen, you could change their life.”
To help people, NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland have developed an online animation which aims to increase the confidence of individuals to support anyone in distress by directing them to the specialist help they need at that time.
The campaign acknowledges that signs of suicide can be difficult to spot, but encourages people to take all signs of distress seriously, even if it seems a person is living a normal life.
It also assures people that asking a person about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference.
Susan continued: “The emotional impact on families, friends and communities bereaved by suicide is devastating and can have long lasting negative effects on those left behind.
“People who have tried to take their life can teach us about how the words and actions of others are important.
“They often talk movingly about reaching the point where they could see no alternative but to take their own life.
“Despite this, they also had a strong desire to live but wanted someone to intervene and stop them from ending their life.
“By taking a minute to show you care and asking directly about suicide, you could change their life.”
The animation is available at: www.bit.ly/AskTellSaveALife