CAMBRIDGE City Council will mark the start of national Mental Health Awareness Week (14 - 20 May) by signing up to the STOP Suicide campaign.
The campaign is being run by Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind and aims to prevent suicides, promote public education and awareness and provide support to people bereaved by suicide.
It also seeks to promote healing and recovery, better mental health and wellbeing for all and encourages organisations and individuals to be alert to the warning signs that someone could be suicidal.
By signing up to the organisational pledge to STOP Suicide, the council has committed to promoting the campaign’s message to staff and to encourage them to sign up to the personal STOP Suicide pledge.
The council encourages its staff to be open and honest when life gets difficult and to reach out to others if they are worried about themselves or colleagues.
The council will run a stall on Cambridge market on Thursday 17 May and Friday 18 May, between 11am and 2.30pm, in support of Mental Health Awareness Week.
Information about mental health support will be available to help raise awareness of the First Response Service for people with mental health crises.
Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “We have made this important pledge to help break down the stigma in our society that can stop people talking openly about suicide and from seeking help.
“An estimated one in five of us has had suicidal thoughts at some point in our lives but not everyone who thinks about suicide tells someone about it and that can put them at greater risk.
“We agree with Mind that suicide is everybody’s business, so it is important that we encourage people to seek the help they need, especially as 75% of people who die by suicide have not been in touch with mental health services a year before their death.”
Anyone needing support should dial 111 and select option 2 to access the First Response Service. They can then talk with trained mental health staff who will discuss their needs. Callers can also be referred to local ‘safe havens’. The phone line is available 24 hours a day for 7 days per week.
For more information on STOP Suicide and for details on making the organisational or individual pledge, go to: http://www.stopsuicidepledge.org/