A week long series of activities is underway as Wolverhampton marks World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday (10 September, 2016).

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Organisations across the city are encouraging people to help raise awareness of the importance of good mental health and wellbeing - while also helping to tackle some of the stigma which surrounds the issue.

Though suicide rates in Wolverhampton are below the West Midlands average and falling, 64 people, mainly men, took their own lives between 2012 and 2014.

The events taking place in the run up to World Suicide Prevention Day this weekend aim to get people thinking about their own mental health and wellbeing, and that of others, and to highlight the help and support which is available locally.

They include drop in information sessions at the Epic Café Health and Wellbeing Hub on Lichfield Street today (Monday 5 September) and Thursday from 10.30am to 12.30pm and 3pm to 5pm on both days, and at the Tiranga South Asian arts festival at Bob Jones Community Hub on Sunday (11 September).

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Healthy Minds are offering free emotional wellbeing checks at Phoenix Health Centre from today until Thursday between 8.30am and 10am, at the City of Wolverhampton College's Wellington Road campus on Wednesday from 10am to 1pm and at Bilston Health Centre on Friday from 10.30am to 12pm, a special Walking for Health session will take place at West Park on Wednesday at 10am and customers at Epic Café and the Civic Centre's café will receive leaflets setting out Five Ways to Wellbeing throughout the week.

Meanwhile, individuals are encouraged to Go Orange on Wednesday and wear something orange to show their support for the campaign. Orange and yellow ribbons will be on sale at the Civic Centre and Epic Café to raise money for PAPYRUS, a charity which aims to prevent suicide among young people.

Samaritans' Wolverhampton provides confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide. However, many of its calls are not about suicide, but from people who feel upset or confused and just want to talk to someone.

This morning, balloons were released at Samaritans' Wolverhampton's offices on Newhampton Road West by Vernon Dodd, branch director, and the Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Barry Findlay, who picked the Samaritans to be one of his chosen charities.

Vernon said: "This year we are celebrating 50 years in Wolverhampton and we are really proud that Samaritans has been helping people through difficult times for such a long time.

"People can contact us at any time of day or night. There are many ways to get in touch, including email and text, as well as by phone and visiting the branch to speak to a volunteer face to face."

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "The council and its partners are committed to tackling stigma around mental health and discrimination.

"These activities are not only designed to raise awareness of the issues, but also highlight services like Samaritans Wolverhampton and PAPYRUS which can help people who are going through a troubling period in their lives.

"The message is clear; if you or someone you know is in a dark place, don't suffer in silence - help and support is out there."

For help and support, contact Samaritans Wolverhampton on 01902 420591 or free on 116 123, visit its office at 54 Newhampton Road West, log on to Type=links;Linkid=7467;Title=Samaritans;Target=_blank; or email jo@samaritans.org.

PAPYRUS provides support for young people and for more details, please visit Type=links;Linkid=7468;Title=Papyrus - prevention of young suicide;Target=_blank;, call 0800 068 4141, text 07786 209697 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org.

  • released: Monday 5 September, 2016