Residents encouraged to talk about mental health this World Suicide Prevention Day

People in Oxfordshire are encouraged to open up and talk about their mental health as the county marks World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September). 

In 2020, there were over 5,000 deaths from suicides in England and Wales with three quarters of these men. Four out of five deaths from suicide in Oxfordshire are men and across the UK someone takes their own life every 120 minutes with three-quarters of them being male. Every suicide can be prevented. 

That is why Oxfordshire County Council is supporting the Samaritans to raise awareness, break down stigmas arounds suicide and help create a world where fewer people die by suicide. 

Councillor Mark Lygo, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Equalities, said: “Every death by suicide is a preventable tragedy. Although things are improving there’s still a stigma within society around not feeling okay and wanting to talk about your feelings – especially men. 

“Often when people are going through a tough time, they will experience negative thoughts about themselves and feel they have no-one to turn to. It’s pretty normal to have points in your life where you struggle with negative feelings but, for some people, these can escalate and cause suicidal thoughts. If you are feeling this way, there is help. 

“The current pressures many are feeling as a result of the cost-of-living crisis will undoubtedly impact some people’s mental wellbeing. That’s why it’s all the more important we help to break down these stigmas and do all we can to support each other to create an Oxfordshire where we lose fewer people to suicide. It’s okay to ask someone about their feelings – even as far as asking if they’re feeling suicidal.” 

Anybody who feels like they are struggling to cope, or just need to talk to someone, can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123. 

Support is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling , whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. 

There are also a number of other local and national services available for support: 
• Oxfordshire Safe Haven is open every day (11.30am until 9.30 pm) for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Phone: 01865 903 037, Email: osh@oxfordshiremind.org.uk 
• NHS 111 - Get free mental health advice and support from trained NHS advisers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anyone concerned about their mental health, or that of a loved one, can call the 24/7 NHS Mental Health Helpline on 111. 
• CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) if you’re a male in the UK who needs to talk or find support, on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight, 365 days a year). 

Anyone who may be experiencing suicidal feelings or thinking about self-harm and would like to access support or help, a list of partners who can help are available online at https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/social-and-health-care/health-recovery-and-wellbeing/mental-wellbeing