International suicide awareness campaign aims to ‘create hope through action’

World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 takes place this weekend (Sunday 10 September), which sees people across the world taking the opportunity to raise awareness and consider the impact of suicide in our communities.

The NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria, along with local authority partners and the third sector, are coming together to encourage everyone to share their experiences and to have the confidence to act in preventing suicide.

The theme for this year’s event is ‘creating hope through action’, urging everyone to think about what they can do to make it easier for a friend, family member or a colleague to talk about their feelings and worries.

Helen Parry, a clinical network manager and suicide prevention lead for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “Tackling the stigma around suicide and encouraging help-seeking behaviour can save lives.

“It isn’t easy for people to talk about their feelings and discuss what is troubling them, but showing you care can be enough to start the conversation.

“World Suicide Prevention Day is a great way to highlight the issue, but this is something that we are trying to promote every day. It’s a tough subject, but suicide is everyone’s business.”

Some of the actions people might consider could be setting aside some time and space to listen to someone about their experiences and problems, or looking at what their employer can do to support people that may be struggling.

Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board are also encouraging people to consider becoming Orange Button holders. The suicide prevention scheme, which launched in September 2020 and has more than 2,500 members, invites people to train to be able to listen to and support people who are having suicidal thoughts and signpost them to appropriate services.

Those with the training typically display their orange buttons on their clothing to let people around them know that they are available to help.

More information about the scheme is available at and the training can be booked for individuals and workplaces by contacting Lancashire Mind.

Helen Parry added: “The Lancashire and South Cumbria region has some of the highest suicide rates across the country, so the need to gain vital skills and knowledge to combat these preventable deaths has never been more important.

“While our holders are not able to counsel people, they can provide comprehensive signposting to relevant services and are empowered to intervene when someone may be having suicidal thoughts.” 

Dr Arif Rajpura, director of public health at Blackpool Council, said: “Every suicide is a tragedy.

“Being open and honest about how you are feeling is not always easy, however it can often be a relief to open up and share feelings of worry or concern.

“We want people to know it’s safe to talk about suicide and that there is a lot of support available.

“We’re proud to be collaborating with local charity Empowerment via their Solace Project with a Blackpool based event on World Suicide Prevention Day.

“Together we will shine a light on the immense importance of suicide awareness, honour lives that have been lost, celebrate the power of human connection and how open conversation is crucial for change.”

Free and confidential help for anyone affected by suicide is available in Lancashire through Amparo (, and in Cumbria through Every Life Matters (, and those having suicidal thoughts, Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust’s Mental Health Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 0800 953 0110. It is staffed by trained mental health professionals who are able to provide assessment and referrals to appropriate services. 

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