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BANES: Bath walk to help lift stigma around suicide on World Suicide Prevention day – 10 September 2016

Please find below a media release from Bath & North East Somerset Council:

Bath walk to help lift stigma around suicide

“World Suicide Prevention day on September 10, is being marked with a 10 mile walk starting at Bath’s Green Park Station.

Volunteers from Bath and District Samaritans will be joining members of the public, staff from Bath & North East Somerset Council and people from local community services in a 10 mile walk between Bath and Bristol.  It has been organised by the mental health charity CLASP and aims to reduce stigma around suicide and promote the prevention messages that help is at hand and talking to someone can really help. 

This will be the first time that this national event, called Walking Out of Darkness, has been held outside of London

The number of people dying from suicide across England has been rising over the last five years. Whilst the most recent national figures show that the number of suicides in Bath and North East Somerset has started to go down, it is never the less estimated that locally at least one person per month dies in this way.  Many more people have suicidal thoughts and feelings.  Death by suicide is not only an individual loss but also a trauma and life-altering event for those who are bereaved.  

Raising awareness of how to access help in times of distress is an important part of suicide prevention.  Bath and Director Samaritans Director David Ryder said: “All the evidence shows that being able to talk to someone helps when people are suffering from emotional or mental distress. Our trained volunteers provide a free, round the clock listening service for anyone, from any phone. We don’t judge, and the calls are entirely confidential: we are here to listen.”

Samaritans can be contacted free from any phone by calling 116 123

Walking Out Of Darkness has the support of Bath & North East Somerset Council.  Cllr Vic Pritchard (Conservative, Chew Valley South) Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said “This is an important example of awareness-raising in mental health.  If we are going to break the stigma around poor mental health, we need more people to openly talk about these issues. We need people to know that there are services that can help. This event is helping people to do that.”

Paul Scott, a Public Health Consultant and chair of the B&NES Suicide Prevention Strategy Group, recognises the importance of raising awareness of suicide and promoting sources of help and support.

He said: “Evidence shows that feeling suicidal can affect people from all walks of life.  Over half of the people who take their own lives are not in touch with mental health services. So, it is important  that the Council works closely with other services and the voluntary sector to promote the importance of seeking help in times of distress or when life events become overwhelming “.