Suicide prevention week

SHETLAND is marking the national Suicide Prevention Week with a series of events including a roadshow around the isles’ secondary schools.

A candle lighting ceremony will be held at the Lerwick Town Hall tonight (Monday) at 7.30pm, where people will be able to remember loved ones or show support for suicide prevention.

A pick-up has also been provided by Jim’s Garage to allow a roadshow to visit all of Shetland’s secondary schools and colleges during the week.

The Let’s Talk About Suicide Prevention roadshow will be held in partnership with the council’s youth services, and it will run with the theme of ‘stop saying I’m fine if you’re not’.

Suicide prevention organisation Choose Life is also continuing its ‘read between the lines’ theme, which encourages people to be aware of warning signs in people around them.

Local Choose Life co-ordinator/suicide prevention lead Karen Smith said that if “someone you are close to shows signs of not being themselves, you will normally notice”.

“When changes in their behaviour begin to worry you – even if the signs come and go – the most important aspect is to ask them about it,” she added.

“Talking openly about their feelings can help a person get clarity about what is troubling them. Starting this conversation helps them gain a perspective on their distress. You don’t need to have a solution to their problems – being there for them and listening, without judgement, shows that you care and their distress, and ultimately their happiness, is important to you.

“Ask if they are thinking about suicide. It won’t put the thought into their head if it wasn’t there before, but it can be a big relief for them to be able to open up fully and acknowledge they need help and support.

“By taking the time to show you care and are there to listen, you could change their life.”