Suicide-safer North Lanarkshire

Suicide is the main cause of young deaths in Scotland

THAT GUY1

For many people, it's not about wanting to die, it's about making the pain and dark moods disappear.

Having these feelings doesn't have to end in suicide. The next step is about talking.

Talking about our fears and feelings can be difficult; even to those we love and care about. Not talking can stop people that we care about recognising that something is wrong and offering to help.

Even asking if someone is 'ok', can be unbearable for both the person asking the question and the person answering. But the more we talk about suicide openly, the sooner we reduce the fear and stigma that surrounds it.

Talking helps. It really does. Low mood can be lifted. And there's always someone ready to listen.

Join our 'RU THAT GUY' Suicide Prevention text alert and be that person who will text or call their friends, maybe after a night out, maybe after a tough week or just when you suspect they maybe aren't themselves. Just one simple text could make all the difference to someone who needs help. Text 'THATGUY' to 60163. Messages will be charged at your standard network rate for initial sign-up message only. To sign-up for free email your mobile number to: thatguy@northlan.gov.uk


Self Care and Self Help Q&A

Why is self-care important?

How can I make sure I am looking after myself?

What if I'm struggling with focusing on myself?

Are there any strategies to cope with this?


Self Care and Self Help Q&A

Self-care is about the choices we make every day to stay happy and healthy. These include the small things we do like getting enough sleep, to bigger self-care choices, such as going to see a counsellor or attending an anger management course.

Why is self-care important?

Self-care is an important part of managing difficult feelings and helps us to keep safe when we are struggling and overwhelmed. Lots of young people say that when they feel down, depressed, anxious or suicidal they struggle to do the little things to take care of themselves. This might include brushing our teeth, making sure we get enough sleep, eating regularly or keeping on top of chores. When these things feel so difficult, it's understandable that bigger self-care tasks, such as attending health appointments or taking time to relax, can be difficult to manage. 

How can I make sure I am looking after myself?

Try some activity scheduling. You can try planning your week, maybe breaking the days down into sections. Next, try to think of things you should do to take care of yourself that maybe you haven't been doing and ask yourself which of these feels most achievable. You can then try scheduling this in. Remember, it's OK to start small and when you feel more able you can start to plan more challenging activities - such as attending a meditation class or socialising with friends. This type of activity scheduling is known as behavioural activation and it's something that some therapists use to get people more used to taking care of themselves and doing meaningful activities.

What if I'm struggling with focusing on myself?

Self-compassion is important.Be kind to yourself - especially when you are struggling. We often can have high expectations of ourselves and feel frustrated or annoyed with ourselves if we don't meet them. We can also engage in negative self-talk saying things to ourselves that are very unkind. Some days you might feel very productive and capable. Other days you might feel overwhelmed and that you can't cope. This is OK. It is important to remember that the more compassion and kindness you show yourself on the days when you feel overwhelmed, the quicker you can get back to feeling better again. It can be really helpful to write some positive things about yourself on the days where you feel okay and then put them somewhere you can see them for those days where you find it hard to see anything positive.

Are there any strategies to cope with this?

Self-help strategies can include; mindfulness and meditation, breathing exercises, alternatives to harmful behaviour, distraction techniques, help to self-soothe, and expressing how you are feeling. Examples of these are below;

  • Mindfulness can help you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and accept them in the moment, rather than trying to fight them or allow them to become overwhelming. It can also help you to focus on the present moment rather than future worries or past memories. 
  • Breathing exercises can be helpful if you are feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed or experiencing panic. They help to relax you by encouraging your breathing to return to normal, which encourages other body systems to feel more normal too - like a pounding heart, racing thoughts, muscle tension and feeling sick.
  • Alternatives to harmful behaviour: When we are feeling overwhelmed we can sometimes harm ourselves as a way of coping. There are lots of different reasons why and how people self-harm; finding alternative coping strategies can help you to stop. You can find a list of these here.  
  • Distraction techniques can be helpful in coping with difficult feelings although it can sometimes be hard to do, especially for long periods of time. Finding an activity you enjoy and that will engage your mind can be helpful, like watching TV or playing a game on your phone or computer. If you have a longer period of time you need to cope in, try breaking your distraction periods down into manageable chunks - like 15 minutes - and perhaps alternating activities. If your feelings are too intense to be distracted from, don't worry - another coping strategy might be more useful at that time. See some ideas for distraction techniques here.
  • Self-soothing can also be a part of distress tolerance. This can include doing self-care activities that are soothing or relaxing. For more information on self-soothe and creating a self-soothe or Hope Box then please look click here.
  • Expressing how you feel can be an important part of self-help when you are feeling overwhelmed. This might be creative expression, such as writing poems or music; verbal expression, like practicing what you would to say to someone who has made you feel angry or screaming into a pillow; or physical expression, like tearing up an old newspaper or going for a run.

If you are feeling suicidal or are worried about someone who is

It's difficult to explain to someone how you are feeling, particularly if you're not good at opening up in the first place. You may feel worried about someone will react. But you'll be surprised. People are willing to listen.

There's lots of different types of support available but taking that initial step to talk to someone is the first move to feeling better.

  • If you are feeling suicidal, phone the Samaritans on 116123 (free 24-hour service or  visit www.samaritans.org) or Breathing Space on 0800 838597 (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.
  • If you are a worried parent or carer contact your GP or contact SAMH's Well-Informed service on 0800 073 0918 or visit www.samh.org.uk.
  • Take a look at this video, prepared by the partnership: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKVpzwxUZGc
  • Download the SP NLC app (search for SP NLC on the Google Play or Apple App store)
  • Visit www.chooselife.net for an understanding of Scotland's strategy.
  • Visit www.papyrus-uk.org if you are a young person with suicidal thoughts.

Suicide Prevention Partnership

Taboos prevent us from speaking freely about the problem and discussing what we can do. Stigma leads to misunderstanding and intolerance. This is what we need to change. The partnership works to address this and to provide help, support and advice to those who need it. Increased awareness and understanding can reduce a largely preventable major public health problem.

The North Lanarkshire Suicide Prevention Partnership includes membership from council services including education and social work, NHS, police, fire, public health, volunteer action and North Lanarkshire Links, among others. It aims to:

  • To reduce the risk of suicide in high risk groups
  • To tailor approaches to improve mental and physical health in specific groups
  • To reduce access to means of suicide
  • To learn from investigations and reviews into unexpected deaths
  • To provide better information and support to those bereaved or affected by suicide
  • To support research, data collection and monitoring
  • o build community capacity to help reduce the stigma and taboo associated with suicide

Take a look at our Suicide prevention - our action plan.

Please use the 'contact us' box if you have any questions. For more information, see 'related pages', 'downloads' or 'other useful websites'.

A to Z of services