World Suicide Prevention Day

A bit of a bleak subject for today's blog but one that we really should talk about, no matter how difficult.  Did you know that more than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world? And that in the UK and Republic of Ireland it's an average of 18 a day! That's more than 6,000 people die by suicide a year.

According to the Office of National Statistics Suicide is the leading cause of death in England in adults below the age of 50, and past research shows that some occupations are at particularly high risk. Factors that increase risk include job-related features such as low pay and low job security as does having access to, or knowledge of, a method of suicide increases risk.

World Suicide Prevention Day is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization has been co-sponsor of the day. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented. This year the theme is 'working together to prevent suicide.'

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data on occupational mortality in England and Wales between 1991 and 2000 indicated that doctors, dentists, nurses, vets and agricultural workers such as farmers were at increased risk of suicide.   The data shows that for males those in manual, low paid roles (including agricultural workers) are most at risk and for females it's those in the caring professions (e.g. nurse, primary teacher).  The occupational breakdown doesn't have a category for 'countryside' staff but I'm sure we can all think of someone who falls into these higher risk groups and perhaps because of the way many countryside staff work in isolation, at remote locations checking into Head Office once a week or less and maybe then by telephone or email their worries may be missed and a change in demeanour not spotted.

So how can you help?  
The Samaritans say: Reaching out to people who are going through a difficult time can be a game changer. People who are feeling low or suicidal often feel worthless and think that no-one cares. Small things like hearing from friends or family, feeling listened to or just being told that 'it's ok to talk' can make a huge difference.  Start a conversation today if you think a friend, colleague or family member may be struggling.  They also run work place training courses on how to help, find out more here.
If you're struggling and don't feel you're able to talk to family and friends (trust me they won't judge you) then both Mind and the Samaritans have excellent resources. Please see their websites: and  And remember that whatever you're going through, you can call the Samaritans free any time, from any phone on 116 123 in both the UK and RoI. 

Right, I'm off now to check in on pour tea for everyone in the office and to hug my family - make sure you do the same.