Gosport suicide survivor says 'help is out there' as global prevention drive begins today
A SUICIDE survivor has thanked the people who rallied to ‘keep her alive’ during her darkest days – and has urged anyone struggling to speak to someone they trust and ‘seek support together’.
Leigh, 39 from Gosport, has spoken out as organisations from across the globe today unite for World Suicide Prevention Day.
The initiative is aimed at raising awareness of how suicide can be prevented and the support people facing difficulties can access.
After suffering abuse as a child, Leigh attempted to take her own life multiple times from the age of 12, before confiding in someone she trusted and seeking help aged 19.
This led to two admissions to psychiatric wards, a diagnosis and access to ‘life-changing’ therapies.
‘It is what the people involved in delivering these therapies have given me that helps me to try and stay away from the suicide route,’ she said.
‘I don't always manage to engage in this route, but definitely feel better if I can use some prevention skills to turn around and walk away from that urge.’
She added: ‘Without this input and support from some amazing friends in my life I would be dead.
‘I want to specifically thank Dr Cheryl Cross, Anita Webb, the support workers at the Hewat Centre in Gosport – especially Sharon Fraser – and the staff who work for the local Acute Mental Health Team.’
Leigh has today backed Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust as it launches its Every Life Matters campaign.
The drive will see discreet ‘life cards’ rolled out encouraging members of the public to be prepared to prevent a suicide.
Each card, which can fit into a wallet, phone case or a pocket, carries information of organisations someone thinking of taking their own life can turn to, to seek the help they need.
Leigh said: ‘I have seen the cards and think they can provide vital access to support.
‘We need to develop a culture where prevention is better than 'cure'.’
She added: ‘If I can use my experiences to help someone else then that is so important.
‘Help is out there. It's not always obvious but seek it. Tell someone you trust and seek support together.’
The free cards will be available at reception desks in every main NHS Hospital and will be given to Southern Health patients, their carers and all 6,000 Southern Health staff.
City council releases new prevention leaflets
The Public Health team at Portsmouth City Council have released two new leaflets aimed at helping citizens tackle their own mental health issues, as well informing readers how they can help others who are struggling.
The council hopes these will encourage people to take their mental health as seriously as their physical health.
The leaflets will be available from libraries, community centres, housing offices, pharmacies, GP surgeries, as well as online.
Councillor Matthew Winnington, cabinet member for health, wellbeing and social care at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘I'm pleased to be marking World Suicide Prevention Day with some new materials that should help people look after their own mental wellbeing and support others that might be struggling with poor mental health’.
A report published by the city council in 2018 revealed over the past few years, suicide rates in Portsmouth have been significantly higher than the national average.
If you are struggling, call Samaritans on 116 123.