There are a range of commonly held myths about suicide, but one of the most challenging myths is the idea that by openly asking a vulnerable person if they are thinking of suicide might actually encourage suicidal behaviour, or even put the thought into their head.
Evidence has shown though that this couldn’t be further from the truth – In Preventing Suicides: A Global Imperative, The World Health Organisation stated that “Rather than encouraging suicidal behaviour, talking openly gives an individual other options or the time to rethink his/her decision, thereby preventing suicide.” So talking about suicide, be it in a professional or personal setting doesn’t make people think about it as a new option for consideration nor does it encourage a suicidal act and could actually save a life… Infact, one could even argue that not talking about suicide and suicidal thoughts when it presents itself as a possibility means we are less likely to have a reductive impact on the number of suicides across the UK.
So why don’t we talk about it more? We know about the risk of injury and death in road accidents and invest heavily in road safety yet suicides per year outnumber deaths in road accidents by 300% Suicide takes over 6000 lives per year in the UK and the silence that surrounds it because of the stigma associated with it means that suicide and suicidal acts will continue to happen. Thankfully, people are starting to take notice of this devastating issue. Many much needed organisations are being established that provide a range of approaches to breaking the silence around suicide and assisting opportunities for living life.
Common Unity and Forward For Life have recently had the pleasure of working alongside one of these newly established organisations known as The Ollie Foundation. The OLLIE Foundation is a charity set up by three parents who lost their children to suicide. OLLIE stands for One Life Lost Is Enough. OLLIE’s key mission is to ensure the rolling out of both safeTALK and ASIST courses across Hertfordshire, especially targetting professionals and carers who work alongside young people.
As recognised Master Trainers, having trained over 1400 people in the last 3 years, OLLIE approached Forward For Life and Common Unity to provide guidance, support them with their initial set up and provide the high quality suicide prevention training needed until a time when OLLIE have their own licensed trainers in suicide prevention.