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World Suicide Prevention Day 2014

September 10, marks International Suicide Prevention Day. In England and Wales, suicide is the leading cause of death for 20-34 year olds, and the leading cause of death in men aged 20-49. There is no single reason why someone may try to take their own life, but certain things can increase the risk. 

For example, a person may be more likely to have suicidal thoughts if they have a mental health condition, or are suffering with depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Life changes like becoming unemployed, being in debt or suffering bereavement can also make a person more vulnerable.

Dr Nancy Kuchemann, local GP said: “It may be difficult but if you are having suicidal thoughts it is really important to talk to someone you can trust. This could be a family member, a friend or a health or social care professional.

“Your family doctor can also help – talk to them as they are able to help with mental health problems by providing advice and treatment, such as medication or counselling.” 

It is not always possible to prevent suicidal thoughts, but keeping your mind healthy with regular exercise, healthy eating and maintaining friendships can help you cope better with stressful or upsetting situations.


Five steps to mental wellbeing

Most of us know what it feels like to be down or worried. It’s a common response to sad or difficult events. Studies from around the world have shown that we can look after our mental wellbeing so that we can manage difficult times better and enjoy life more by paying attention to the five ways to wellbeing:

  • Connect – connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.
  • Be active – you don't have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find the activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life.
  • Keep learning – learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement and a new confidence. So why not sign up for that cooking course, start learning to play a musical instrument, or figure out how to fix your bike?
  • Give to others – even the smallest act can count whether it's a smile, a thank you or a kind word. Larger acts, such as volunteering at your local community centre, can improve your mental wellbeing and help you build new social networks.
  • Take notice – be more aware of the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness", and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
For more information on the five steps to mental wellbeing, see the NHS Choices website.
Local help and support
  • Lambeth and Southwark Mind (020 7358 7030) operates 10.00am-5.00pm and can offer localised information on support, including counselling. Out of hours you can email
  • Big White Wall New service providing support online with free access for Southwark residents
  • Southwark Psychological Therapies Service offers free talking therapy to anyone aged 18 or over living in Southwark call 020 3228 2194 or email

Help and support

  • Samaritans (08457 90 90 90) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you are feeling, or if you are worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number will not show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation that supports teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It does not have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
  • CALM is a charity that works to prevent suicide in men of all ages in the UK. Their helpline number is 0800 58 58 58.