A memorial quilt has been created in Greater Manchester as part of a range of activity to mark World Suicide Prevention Day and the start of the City Region's Month of Hope.
The quilt, which is entitled Speak Their Name, is made up of 54 unique squares, each one created by someone who is bereaved by suicide.
Rebecca Jackson is the fibre artist behind the creation. She said:
“We called the quilt Speak Their Name as many people bereaved by suicide have found that those around them often avoid saying the name of the person that has died. We want to tell the individual stories of those we have lost to suicide, to show the outside world that these are not numbers, these are human lives and real people left behind.
“As a mum bereaved by suicide I know how essential crafting had been to my mental wellbeing and I wanted to share some of the skills I had learnt along the way.
“Quilting has a long history of storytelling and calling for change. We hope that Speak Their Name will help raise awareness of the impact that losing a loved one to suicide has and to be part of Greater Manchester’s history.”
An online peer support group has also been created for members to talk about the person they’ve lost and support each other during difficult times. Anyone bereaved by suicide is invited to join the online community and take part in monthly creative activities. Search Speak Their Name on Facebook to join.
Free mental health training is being offered to 40 barbers over the next month. Developed by Tom Chapman, founder of The Lions Barber Collective, BarberTalk equips barbers with the skills to recognise the signs that a client may be struggling and teaches them how to support someone to get help.
It is the first time that training will be done on this scale in Greater Manchester and barbers can sign up at https://barbertalk.eventbrite.co.uk
Vigils of Remembrance
Residents are invited to watch The Anthony Seddon Fund’s online vigil from 7pm and the live stream of the sold out drive-in vigil at Salford Civic Centre at 8pm tonight, organised by Start in Salford.
In support of Greater Manchester’s Month of Hope, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said:
“We are losing too many people to suicide. One in five of us experience suicidal thoughts at some point in our lives and the only way to prevent tragedy is by talking.
“We all need to talk openly about suicide and World Suicide Prevention Day highlights that there is nothing to be feared in opening up about suicide and mental health.
“If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please speak to someone you trust or call the Samaritans on 116 123. Telling someone how you feel is the first step to getting help – help that you deserve.”
What are the warning signs for suicide?
Samaritans have cited the following warning signs:
Talking about suicide - e.g. “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you again…” and “I’d be better off dead.”
Seeking out lethal means - e.g. guns, pills, knives
Preoccupation with death - An unusual focus on death, dying, or violence
No hope for the future - Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped
Self-loathing, self-hatred - Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden.
Getting affairs in order - e.g. making out a will, giving away prized possessions
Saying goodbye – Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends
Withdrawing from others – e.g. withdrawing from friends and family, increasing social isolation
Self-destructive behaviour - e.g. increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex
Sudden sense of calm – A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean the person has made a decision to attempt suicide
Samaritans and Mind say individuals can play a role in suicide preventionCredit: PA Images
What should I do if I'm having suicidal feelings?
The NHS has offered the following advice:
try not to think about the future – just focus on getting through today
stay away from drugs and alcohol
get yourself to a safe place, like a friend's house
be around other people
do something you usually enjoy, such as spending time with a pet
You can also phone these free helplines:
Samaritans - 116 123
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men - 0800 58 58 58
Papyrus – for people under 35 - 0800 068 41 41
Childline – for children and young people under -19 0800 1111
What should I do if someone I know is having suicidal feeling?
Samaritans and Mind say individuals can play a role in suicide prevention by:
Pointing out the alternatives
Showing that you care
Getting a doctor or psychologist involved
Encourage them to talk about their feelings
Help them to make a support plan
Take the free 20 minute training to learn how to save a life: www.bit.ly/savealife20
Encourage someone to talk before suicide seems their only option: www.shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk
What should I do if I'm bereaved by suicide?
If you’re bereaved by suicide, you do not need to deal with your grief alone. Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can find the right support for you. Visit: www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk