Don’t be afraid to break the silence this Christmas and new year

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Rotherham Council is reminding anyone who feels lonely, low in mood or anxious that there is always help available including support 24/7 over the festive period.

Earlier this year a borough wide ‘ break the silence on suicide’ campaign was launched which encourages people to speak out about suicide and helps family and friends to spot the signs that someone might be struggling with their mental health.

This reminder on the run up to the festive period ties in with the launch of a targeted marketing campaign funded by Wentworth Valley Area Assembly, which builds on the original concept of speaking out about suicide. It includes coasters that will be displayed in as many local places as possible such as hairdressers, barbers , gyms cafes and restaurants which include the Samaritans and Rotherham Crisis numbers and carry the important campaign message, to break the silence by ‘ taking the mat and having that chat’.

Chair of Wentworth Valley Area Assembly, Councillor Christine Beaumont, said: “We welcome this campaign locally and would like as many local businesses/organisations to support it as possible. We want to break the stigma around suicide and encourage people to have the confidence to ‘have that chat’ either about themselves or someone they are worried about.”

Cabinet Member for Public Health, Councillor Roche added: “We know that, rather than feeling joy and happiness, there will be people who are struggling with isolation, sadness and thoughts of suicide over the Christmas period. We want people to know that it is ok to talk about suicide and reach out to those who have become disconnected from others by talking and offering them support which may be a life-saving act.”

If anyone is worried about themselves or anyone else , the signs to watch out for include:

• Talking about death

• Hopelessness

• Mood and appearance changes

• Giving away possessions

• Increased drug and alcohol misuse.

If you are concerned about yourself, friend or family member, break the silence by calling Samaritans on Freephone 116 123 or The Rotherham Crisis Team on 01709 302670 (24 hours).

For further information on spotting the signs visit www.rotherham.gov.uk/preventsuicide