North Lanarkshire Suicide Prevention Campaign - You Matter

Celebrities including Steve Coogan, Greg McHugh, Sanjeev Kohli and Danny O'Carroll have thrown their weight behind a campaign to raise awareness of suicide prevention in North Lanarkshire.

Suicide Prevention North Lanarkshire's 'You Matter' campaign centres on a video with 12 celebrity voices offering useful tips and advice to keep positive and where to get support if you are experiencing low mood or suicidal thoughts.

With long-established links with the local community, Suicide Prevention North Lanarkshire has been working with local football clubs to reduce the stigma around suicide and encourage people to get support. The council-led support programme reached out to Airdrie-based showbiz specialist, Ross Owen, who sits on the Airdrie Community Trust board, to use his celebrity contacts to help pull together the video for Suicide Prevention North Lanarkshire.

Ross said, "I understand how difficult it is for some people, and particularly men, to talk about having suicidal thoughts or to ask for help. And with the current situation, people are experiencing new levels of stress through increased isolation.

"I have worked with Suicide Prevention North Lanarkshire before through the Airdrie Community Trust Board to reach out to fans of football and I was more than happy to assist again by asking some well-known faces to help raise awareness."

Still Game and River City star Sanjeev Kohli said, "This is a hugely important message for people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts. It's difficult to ask for help but support is there at the end of a phone. So talk to someone; you'll be surprised how people respond. People do care."

River City actor Stephen Purdon understands how people can find it difficult to ask for help. He said, "Let's face it, men are sometimes not the greatest talkers but just making that first ask can result in a huge weight lifted from your shoulders. People want to help. And there's a wealth of professional help available locally and nationally. All it takes is to make that call to stay safe. Just talking is the most important first step."

The video is being launched ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week next week (18-24 May) which will highlight the range of support available to people. Suicide affects people from all walks of life, men, women and young people, regardless of background or age. It's important that people know where to get help.

Councillor Paul Kelly, depute leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said, "Undoubtedly our current lifestyle presents challenges to many people and this is exacerbated by isolation and loneliness. This is even more apparent for those who live alone. We have been working with local organisations and communities for many years now to tackle the issues around suicide, training people to recognise the signs and to signpost people to resources to help reduce the number of suicides in North Lanarkshire.

"The encouragement and inspiration from the celebrities in this video will hopefully reach out to those people in our communities who are feeling low or having suicidal thoughts so they understand that you really do matter. The most important thing anyone can do is to talk to someone, ask for help and pick up the phone to one of the support services.

"I'd also like to thank Ross and all the stars who gave their time to help."

Actor and ambassador for the Airdrie Community Trust Board, Scott Reid, said "I was really keen to get involved in this project as suicide and depression affects young people as well. Young people face a lot of challenges, like peer pressure, online bullying and the expectation to succeed. These things can weigh heavily on the minds of young people and they need to know that there is support available and things are never so bad they can't get help. And it's true. If someone tells me they're feeling down, I want to help. I care. Friends and family matter. Talking is the first step to feeling better."

The video features input from:

  • Frank Gallagher (River City)
  • Sanjeev Kohli (Still Game, River City)
  • George Christopher (Grangehill, Brookside)
  • Greg McHugh (Gary Tank Commander)
  • Danny O'Carroll (Mrs Brown's Boys)
  • Jordan Young (River City, Scot Squad)
  • Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge)
  • Tom Urie (River City, Trainspotting 2)
  • Stephen Purdon (River City, The Benny Lynch Story)
  • Jane McCarry (Still Game)
  • Robin Laing (River City, Band of Brothers)
  • Scott Reid (Still Game, Carnival Row)

If you are feeling suicidal, phone the Samaritans on 116123 (free 24-hour service or visit www.samaritans.org) or Breathing Space on 0800 838587 (free to call between 6pm and 2am or visit www.breathingspace.scot) for self-help and management.

If you are a young person, contact Childline on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk.

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