Four events are being held in the Borders as part of this year’s Suicide Prevention Week, starting on Monday, September 5.
Almost 700 Scots killed themselves last year, and the death toll claimed by suicide in the Borders increased by 50%, up from 12 in 2014 to 18.
NHS Borders, Scottish Borders Council and voluntary and statutory sector organisations are hoping to help reduce that fatality rate by backing Choose Life’s annual Read between the Lines campaign urging people to be on the lookout for warning signs.
Allyson McCollam, associate joint director of public health for NHS Borders and the council, said: “Suicide has an immense impact on society, on communities and on individuals, and we can all play a large part in preventing suicides.
“This week is a chance to remind people across the Borders of the support and help that is available to help them gain valuable skills in identifying the signs of suicidal intent in the people around them – friends, colleagues, family members or neighbours – and to encourage them to make contact and get them to talk about how they feel.”
Tweeddale West councillor Catriona Bhatia,the council’s executive member for health service, added: “Suicide Prevention Week is an opportunity for us all to come together to raise awareness and share knowledge about suicide prevention.”
Three events are being held in Galashiels as part of the week – a mental health strategy feedback session at the MacArts Centre, in Bridge Street, from 10am to 2pm on Monday; a five-mile walk beginning at the Scottish Association for Mental Health’s Fresh Start centre in Island Street next Wednesday at 6pm; and an advice session, lunch and outside DJ set at Heriot- Watt University’s Tweed Road halls of residence from 11.30am to 2pm on Thursday.
A suicide alertness training session will also be held at Eyemouth Community Centre, in Albert Road, on Tuesday.
For further details, call 01835 825970 or visit www.nhsborders.scot.nhs.uk or www.chooselife.net