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#WorldSuicidePreventionDay 2021

World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world since 2003.

In Scotland, men are three times as likely to die by suicide than women. While there has been a reduction in the number of people completing suicide over the last ten years, the numbers are still worryingly high. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to start the conversation about suicide and to show that recovery is possible.

World Suicide Prevention day is hosted by IASP - for more information, please visit their website


It’s important to note that some people won’t show more obvious signs that they’re struggling. That’s why it’s so important to notice any small or large change in behaviour, and reach out to friends when you know they’re experiencing challenges in their life.

There are, however, some general symptoms of suicidal ideation that you can keep an eye out for:

  • Feeling restless and agitated

  • Feeling angry and aggressive

  • Feeling tearful

  • Being tired or lacking in energy

  • Not wanting to talk to or be with people

  • Not wanting to do things they usually enjoy

  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings

  • Finding it hard to cope with everyday things

  • Not replying to messages or being distant

  • Talking about feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless

  • Talking about feeling trapped by life circumstances they can’t see a way out of, or feeling unable to escape their thoughts

  • A change in routine, such as sleeping or eating more or less than normal

  • Engaging in risk-taking behaviour, like gambling or violence

You might not always be able to spot the signs, especially now, if you’re seeing people less. As such, try recognising circumstances that might trigger our inability to cope – such as job stresses, loneliness, financial worries, loss or grief.


ALGEE is a methodology used by mental health first aiders, and can be a helpful framework for starting a conversation about mental health. Here’s how it’s done:

ASSESS for risk of suicide or harm: Ask the person if they are considering suicide and assess the urgency of the situation with these questions:

  • Are you having thoughts of suicide?

  • Do you have a plan to kill yourself?

  • Have you decided when you’d do it?

  • Do you have everything you need to carry out your plan?

  • If they have a plan and are ready to carry out that plan, call 999 immediately. How you respond to other answers will depend on the situation, but always call 999 if you’re unsure. It’s better to be safe that for someone to lose their life.

LISTEN nonjudgmentally: If the person does not appear to be in a crisis, encourage them to talk about what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling.

GIVE reassurance and information: Reassurance is crucial, as people having suicidal ideation may not have much hope. Clearly state to them that suicidal thoughts are often associated with a treatable mental illness, and if you feel comfortable, you can also offer to help them get the appropriate treatment. You can also tell them that thoughts of suicide are common, and that you don’t have to act on them.

ENCOURAGE appropriate professional help: If you are concerned for the person’s immediate safety, call 999. If you’re concerned but it’s not an immediately urgent situation, make sure the person has a safety contact available at all times, whether it’s a loved one or mental health professional.

ENCOURAGE self-care and support strategies: Ask the person to think about what has helped them in the past and create a crisis plan.


Nick Frendo is a cyclist, tour guide and mental health advocate. He have a history of mental health illness and has decided to share his experience to inspire people to get help before they reach a crisis point. Watch his story below.

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