'Shining a Light on Suicide' campaign launches in Greater Manchester

A new campaign has been launched to encourage people in Greater Manchester to talk about suicide, the biggest killer of men under 49 and women aged between 20 to 34 in the region.

'Shining a Light on Suicide' campaign launches in Greater Manchester

• Over 200 people take their own life in Greater Manchester each year
• Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 49
• 1 in 5 of us has thought about suicide at some point
• Suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged 15–29 years

A new campaign has been launched to encourage people in Greater Manchester to talk about suicide, the biggest killer of men under 49 and women aged between 20 to 34 in the region.

More than 200 people a year take their own life in Greater Manchester and leaders across the city region have today said “enough is enough” and that “it’s time to break the stigma of talking about suicide, suicidal thoughts and suicide bereavement”. It follows research and evidence among people who have considered suicide, that talking honestly and openly about suicide helped to save their lives.

The #shiningalightonsuicide campaign has been created to prevent suicides and aims to take the subject out of the dark by encouraging everyone across Greater Manchester to talk openly about suicide. The campaign will inform people across Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs how we can help those with suicidal thoughts and support those bereaved by suicide – providing information to support organisations. Personal stories and short films have also been created, featuring people from across the city region who have been directly affected by suicide or suicidal thoughts.

The campaign, which will be delivered across Greater Manchester over the coming months, will collaborate with a network of stakeholder organisations, the media and use social media to ensure communities in all ten boroughs are targeted.

Former rugby league star Danny Sculthorpe was capped eight times by England and represented elite Super League clubs including Wigan Warriors before a career-ending spinal injury aged 30 left him tormented by depression and suicidal thoughts.

Now 39, father-of-three Danny said that ‘opening up’ saved his life.

“The biggest thing that saved my life, even more so than medication, was talking,” he said.

“Shortly after telling my wife and parents about my suicidal thoughts a massive weight came off my shoulders. We spent hours talking and crying.

“Unfortunately, the injury I sustained left me feeling that I could no longer provide for my wife and children. I went from being an elite sportsman to being pretty much bed bound and knowing that I wouldn’t play again. Bottling it up pushed me to the edge.

“But I got it all off my chest which was an unbelievable feeling. I also visited my GP, was prescribed anti-depressants and spoke to a counsellor on many occasions.”

Danny added: “I’m now much better and am so thankful that I spoke to my wife and parents on that day when I’d reached my lowest point. If I hadn’t, and instead acted on my suicidal thoughts, I would have ruined so many people’s lives.

“I’m shining a light on suicide because I believe that we shouldn’t and cannot be afraid of talking about suicide. If you are struggling, don’t keep things bottled up like I did, seek help.”

Jon Rouse, Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Sadly too many people lose their lives to suicide, leaving devastated families to pick up the pieces.

“This campaign aims to shift the focus of care to prevention, early intervention and resilience by creating a culture where it’s seen as ok to speak openly and honestly about suicide.

“Through ‘Shining a Light on Suicide’ we are aiming to remove the stigma associated with suicide, so the entire Greater Manchester community understands their role in helping us reduce suicide in our region.”

Suicide affects us all. Encourage someone to talk before suicide seems their only option.
Together we can help prevent suicide.

Find out how at shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk. If you’re struggling to cope call Samaritans on 116 123