Organisations working together to prevent suicide were at St Albans Market last week to highlight World Suicide Prevention Day and raise awareness of the signs of suicide risk.
Passers-by were invited to show support for World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 by signing up to its collective Cycle Around the Globe awareness-raising initiative.
Everyone is being encouraged to take a bike ride and dedicate their mileage to the suicide prevention campaign, highlighting the benefits of physical activity on mental health along the way.
Representatives from Mind in Mid Herts, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, The Counselling Foundation, Spectrum Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services (CGL) and St Albans City and District Council also handed out leaflets at the market. The leaflets explained how to spot the signs of suicide risk and the suicide prevention support available locally.
Supporting the event were the Mayor of St Albans City and District, Cllr Rosemary Farmer, and Mental Health Champion for the City and District of St Albans, Cllr Anthony Rowlands. The Chair of the St Albans District Health and Wellbeing Partnership, Cllr Beric Read, was also present at the market stall event on Wednesday 5 September.
The Mayor, whose charity for the year is Mind in Mid Herts, said: “World Suicide Prevention Day aims to highlight the signs of suicide risk and the support available to help prevent people from taking their own lives. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention a person dies every 40 seconds from suicide and up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt. Please show your support for World Suicide Prevention Day by taking a cycle ride and dedicating the miles you have covered to this important awareness-raising campaign.”
Prizes will be awarded to people who have cycled the furthest. Simply log the number of miles you have cycled on apps such as Strava or Map My Ride and then send a screen shot to Hpft.email@example.com. Alternatively, post it via Twitter using @SpotSignSuicide #HPFTSpotTheSigns #HertsWSPD18.
Suicide prevention is listed as a priority in the St Albans City and District Health & Wellbeing Strategy for 2018-2021.
Cllr Anthony Rowlands, Mental Health Champion for the City and District of St Albans and a member of the St Albans District Health and Wellbeing Partnership, said: “I welcome this initiative. Raising awareness of the signs of suicide is vitally important. However, this must go hand in hand with strengthening support for mental health services. In my view, that requires sufficient high calibre specialist staff and that means more investment in our health service.”
Information and advice leaflets were also being distributed yesterday at St Albans City train station by Council officers and representatives from Mind in Mid Herts and the Counselling Foundation.