15/12/2020 - Permalink

Partners join forces to support people and help save lives this Christmas

Related topics: Adult social care / Health / Partner organisations

 Shropshire and Telford Suicide Prevention Network are relaunching their suicide prevention campaign to support people’s mental health and help save lives this Christmas.



The local campaign Need to talk? – pick up the phone you’re not alone, features messages around signposting to immediate and longer term support for those suffering from suicidal thoughts, advice and information on how to support your mental health, and stories from those who’ve been affected by suicide.

The partnership will be supporting the Samaritans Christmas Campaign with a focus on signposting people to the right help and support.

Christmas can be a tough time for many people, even without a pandemic to deal with. But, with restrictions on socialising this year, increased financial worries, and separation from family and loved ones, can create even more anxiety and stress for people.

To support people during this time, Shropshire and Telford Suicide Prevention Network wants to highlight the support on offer and raise awareness of the Pick up your phone you’re not alone advice and information Zcard, to help support those suffering from suicidal thoughts and those affected from it.

There is no simple explanation for why someone chooses to die by suicide, and it is rarely due to one particular factor. Mental health problems are important influences, as well as alcohol and substance misuse, feeling desperate, helpless or without hope.

The pocket sized Zcard is small enough to be easily carried in a wallet, purse or pocket so as to be used as reference whenever needed, and provides:

  • Brief advice and guidance on how to address concerns
  • Contacts for a confidential, listening ear
  • Urgent contacts to seek immediate appropriate support.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said:-

“Christmas can be a difficult time for some people, especially after a year of uncertainty and change. For those who’ve been struggling to cope with day to day life, this time of year can be extremely overwhelming.

“As members of communities, it is our responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling, check in with them, and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Offering a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgemental way can make all the difference.

“It’s essential to look after our mental health – and the mental health of others – by continuing to check in on anyone who may be struggling. Talking is good – whether it’s with a friend, family member, a qualified therapist or a confidential helpline. Please pick up the phone, you’re not alone.”

Councillor Andy Burford, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:-

“Suicide is preventable; all of us can do something about it. At this time of year we need to be aware of those around us, a short conversation or just asking if someone is OK, is sometimes all it takes to save a person’s life.

“It’s important for people to talk, whatever they might be going through. These Zcards will let you know where you can find confidential and non-judgmental support.

“We all need to work together to reduce self-harm and suicide. We want to make it easier for people to talk about how they feel, and encourage people to seek help when they feel it is needed.”

Co-chairs of Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Suicide Prevention Network, Gordon Kochane, Shropshire Council public health consultant, and Lyn Stepanian, Public Health Practitioner at Telford and Wrekin Council, said:-

“No one should struggle alone, particularly at this time of year as we head into the festive season. We cannot emphasis enough how important it is for people to keep talking to one another in the run-up to Christmas. This can be a very difficult time for a lot of people, who have already had a challenging year.

“We are encouraging people to look out for anyone who may be feeling they can no longer cope with day to day life. There is always someone to talk to, and there are many organisations out there ready to offer a listening ear. If you are struggling, please pick up the phone, you’re not alone.”

 Richard Dunnill, Samaritans listening Volunteer and Deputy Director Partnerships, added:-

“We know that Christmas and New Year can be difficult for many people, as it’s a time when loneliness can really hit home and that this might be heightened this year. We want everyone in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin to know that free support is available 24/7 (including Christmas Day), and that we local Samaritans are volunteering alongside many other great local charities, council and NHS services to be there for everyone in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin this Christmas.  If you need support…or you’re worried about someone…please pick up the phone – help is at hand.”

Anyone, whether you’re a child or an adult needing support or just someone to talk to, call the Samaritans 24-hour support service free, on 116 123 or text Shout to 85258.

You can download the Pick up the phone you’re not alone Zcards online at https://shropshire.gov.uk/disability-information/mental-health/suicide-prevention/

If you’re struggling this festive period, there are some things you can do to help yourself cope during this difficult time. To find out more go to https://shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/information-for-the-public/mental-health-and-wellbeing/ 

To access adult mental health services, in Shropshire call 0300 124 0365, and for Telford call 0300 303 1601 or visit http://www.sssft.nhs.uk/services/adult-mental-health.

For more information about mental health services visit www.shropshire.gov.uk/disability-information/mental-health

Further information

Designed by Shropshire and Telford Suicide Prevention Network in collaboration with those who have been affected by suicide, the Zcards are aimed at people of all ages who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or who are concerned for others.

Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin’s Suicide Prevention Network is made up of representatives from the following organisations:

    • Shropshire Council
    • Telford and Wrekin Council
    • Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust
    • Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust
    • Shropshire Community Health Trust
    • West Mercia Police
    • Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service
    • West Midlands Ambulance Service
    • Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group
    • Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group
    • Third sector and voluntary sector organisations.

The Zcards have been produced as part of the Shropshire and Telford Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy. Shropshire’s Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy aims to help those at risk of considering suicide or self-harm. The strategy aspires to prevent all deaths from suicide in the region and sets out actions to ensure those at risk or affected by suicide are signposted to, and can access, the support and agencies that they require at the right time and aims to:

  • Reduce stigma of talking about suicide or self-harm to promote seeking early support
  • Raise awareness of suicide risk and what support is available
  • Provide appropriate support to those bereaved by suicide who are at greater risk themselves.