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Bolton staff take time to talk

Bolton staff take time to talk

Today (September 10th) is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). The subject is a difficult one, but the day is a good reminder to us all that there are things we can do to help those with mental health issues.

The theme for the day is “working together to prevent suicide”. You might think that this means health professionals, police, support groups and of course it does, but in fact YOU can make a bigger difference than you realise.

As a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a member of staff at Adullam, or as a neighbour. There are many things that you can do to help prevent suicidal behaviour and as part of this piece we’ve included a brilliant example from one of our Operational Managers.

Among the most common feelings for anyone who has been in contact with a suicide victim is “I wish I could have done something” and “Why didn’t I realise this was how bad they were feeling?”.

Charity the Samaritans says there’s a few obvious signs - lack of energy, finding it hard to think clearly, wanting to be alone all the time, finding it had to cope with everyday tasks and using drugs or alcohol to cope – among them.

The advice from the Samaritans and a wide range of other organisations about what you should do if you are concerned about someone’s mental health is mainly - talk to them. Reach out and connect with them.

The power of just talking to someone has been underlined by research carried out last year for the Samaritans by the Universities of Middlesex and Westminster which shows that the people standing nearby – or bystanders – can help prevent suicide on the railways.

The research revealed that for every life lost on the railways, six are saved by the people around them – by starting a conversation with them.

Talking to people is important and helpful anywhere, and at any stage of their mental health issues.

Conversation starters can be as simple as “How has your day been?” Letting a friend or colleague know you have noticed something different about them shows you care. “I’ve had a terrible week, how was yours?” is another good starting point.  A straightforward question is another good one. “Is everything okay at home/work/college?”.

The signs in the case from Muamba House in Bolton were much more obvious, but the actions taken by Operational Manager Dawn Thornber prove how effective talking can be.

Dawn takes up the story.

“The other day a gent was shouting in his room on the phone, it didn’t seem right and was out of character, so I went up to check he was OK. He had a very large kitchen knife with which he informed me he was going to take his own life because he had nothing to live for and was failing, he was worthless.

“We had a long chat, and he allowed me to take the knife away, he agreed to come downstairs and chat with his support worker and myself.

“When he did come down, he was very emotional, I got him to talk to us, he told us a lot about himself and his family and a recent bereavement and how he has never had any help with this.

“We agreed a plan of action with him, to do a referral to his GP, to arrange for counselling support, and arranged to have welfare checks every four hours.

“We also found out he only had a pot noodle to last him the next four days, so we provided a welfare pack.

“He said he was so grateful and never had support or told anyone about himself before and now felt supported.”

Well done Dawn and the team, absolute proof that it’s good to talk.