Talking Suicide

Mental Health Support & Suicide Crisis Helpline . Here to help you through those frightening times when your mental health is frail

Suicide – a word no-one wants to see, speak or hear.  For reasons that are obvious.
Suicide – a word that is shrouded in stigma, shame and silence.
It’s time we normalised the word.  It’s time to start the conversation.  And it’s certainly time to continue the conversation.
For as long as people are dying by suicide (over 700,000 per year, globally (WHO), there is work to be done and discussions to be had.

Don’t be shamed into silence as that way, the stigma continues (SOS Silence of Suicide)

2019/2020 Statistics
The best source for England and Wales statistics is the ONS – for global figures, we refer to the latest information provided by WHO .

Read the full provisional quarterly reports published by the ONS.

Call our mental health & suicide support helpline on 0300 1020 505 Friday-Monday 8pm until Midnight if you need help or are in a crisis

Additional reading about suicide and its impacts on certain characteristics is available below.

Main Findings 2019 (Source: ONS)

  • There were 5,691 suicides registered in England and Wales in 2019, a similar rate to 2018
  • Approximately 3/4 of the registered deaths in 2019 were men (4,303 deaths).  This has been the trend since the 1990’s
  • In recent years, death by suicide in under 25s have increased, more so amongst females aged between 10 and 24.  This rate is at is highest level since 2012.
  • In 2019, the suicide rate amongst males was the highest since 2000
  • An increase of 5.7% in deaths (4,017) by suicide amongst men in England was recorded in 2019, compared to 2018.

Main Findings 2020 (Source: ONS)

  • The data for all quarters of 2020 is currently listed by the ONS as provisional data (link at bottom of this page)
  • Over the 4 quarters of 2020, a total of 4,902 suicides were recorded in England
  • This indicates a suicide reduction figure since 2019; however, please note that a) these figures are provisional and b) the ONS states that any perceived reduction is likely to be because of a reduction in coroner’s inquests due to Coronavirus as opposed to a genuine decline in the number of suicides.
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Prepare your Safety Plan

How to help yourself

One of the most important  and helpful things you can do for yourself is to prepare a safety plan, which you can use to help yourself on a daily basis, or just through the really difficult times.

You can include information such as phone numbers for your GPs and others you are able to talk to as well as things you can do that help to distract your mind.  It is your personal safety plan and you can fill in whatever details are helpful for you.

You can either complete one online, or download and fill it in, whichever way is best for you.

Staying Safe has a wealth of really useful information for people struggling to cope for whatever reason, including a blank or online safety plan for you to complete, either on your own, or with someone else to help you.

If you’re unsure how to complete it, or what you might put in it, you can watch a video of  mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin completing his and it might perhaps give you some ideas as to what to include in yours.

Dr Alys Cole King explains why you might need a safety plan and exactly what a safety plan is.

You do not have to be experiencing thoughts of suicide to complete a safety plan.  In fact, it might be better to prepare your plan when your emotional health is not at its worst.  But it is never too late, or too soon, to put one together.

an nhs guide


The NHS site has an area dedicated on how to look after your mental health during Coronavirus and beyond.

It covers topics such as employment and benefits rights, planning practical everyday tasks such as food delivery or shopping, and there are links for carers who have to go into the homes of the vulnerable, plus advice on staying connected and talking to others with links to suggested helplines.

It also stresses the importance of looking after your physical self, not just your mental health, keeping your mind and body active and creating a structure to your day, plus lots lots more.

Click HERE to access all their information on mental health resources

SOS – Mental health support & suicide crisis helpline.  Here to help you through those frightening times when your mental health is frail and you feel alone.

#staysafe #itstimetostopthesilence

Mental Wellbeing – Self Help Support

Mental Wellbeing Self Help Support 1: Breathing

How often have you either heard, or been told, to ‘take a deep breath’?  These aren’t just words said in the absence of anything else to say – taking deep breaths and lowering the pace of breathing can really help us!

We know that at times of stress, distress, anxiety or during panic attacks, our breathing can become much faster and our hearts feel like they are pounding, which can be quite frightening and overwhelming.

But simply learning to control the pace of our breathing can help us regain control, and calm us down.

We checked out content on the Human Givens website, and found a great page on 7/11 breathing techniques and benefits.  If you’ve got a moment, click and visit.

HG say:

”Deep breathing techniques all have one thing in common, they work by stimulating what is known as the Parasympathetic Nervous System. You may have heard of the ‘fight or flight’ response, the Parasympathetic Nervous System is simply the opposite of that (‘fight or flight’ is the term for the activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System) – instead of getting you ready for action, deep breathing activates a natural bodily response that can be described as ‘rest and digest’. Out-breaths decrease your blood pressure, dilate your pupils and slow your heart rate – lowering emotional arousal in the process. Practicing a breathing technique a few times a day will lower your overall stress levels in the long term.” Copyright @HumanGivens

It’s really important that you breathe in the right way – by doing diaphragmatic breathing, meaning your tummy pushes out and you’re breathing nice and deeply instead of short, shallow breaths.
7/11 breathing is based upon breathing in for 7 seconds and out for the count of 11.  If this is difficult for you, try 5/7 – breathing in for the count of 5 and out for the count of 7, nice and steadily.  As long as your in and out breathing is longer than your usual breathing pattern, this will really help.
At SOS, we are keen on distraction techniques that re-focus the mind from where it wants to be, to where you need it to be – in a calmer place!  So by focusing on your breathing, and counting in your head, you are automatically achieving this too!

Mental Wellbeing Self Help Support 2: Time Out For Yourself

It can be really important to have some you time, when you can put to one side the hustle and bustle and escape the general noise of life and create some peace and calm.

Did you know that being alone can help increase your creative thoughts which you could express through things like writing, drawing, painting, even dance!  There are some great ways to let those inner feelings and thoughts express themselves.

We learn about ourselves as our lives evolve and one way of progressing this understanding is to have time to just be, by ourselves.

Without the interference of others, you can honestly explore your thoughts and views – ask yourself, ‘What do I really think about ?’  When we don’t have to conform, either in terms of behaviour or the words we speak, we are able to realise what we really feel about the world, and people, around us.  It’s about getting to know yourself

Mental Health Self Help Support 3 – Trying something different

It can be hard to challenge yourself when you aren’t feeling at your best, but if you do manage this, it’s so rewarding – the feel good factor alone can help elevate mood and create a real sense of achievement and accomplishment.

So next time you dismiss something because you think you aren’t good enough, put the negatives to one side and give it a go.  It could be the start of a brand new you!

Mental Health Self Help Support 4 – Communicating through creatives

We know how difficult communicating how you feel can be.  But it’s not just spoken words we can use to describe how we are feeling and how good or bad our mental health is.

Arts and crafts, painting, drawing, writing, dancing, film-making  – all of these things can provide a much needed outlet and way of you vocalising how you’re feeling – without speaking a word!

Take a look at the 2 images below.  What do you think the artist might be feeling when they painted these?  Using colour is a great way to convey mood.

Communicating through creatives
Communicating through creatives
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