Are You #AlrightPal?

Take a minute, save a life. That’s the message this year as Barnsley Council once again supports World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday 10 September.

The campaign is supported worldwide by the International Association of Suicide Prevention and nationally by The National Suicide Prevention Alliance. The day aims to highlight that although this is a serious public health problem, suicide is also preventable.

This year’s theme supports open discussion and support, encouraging others to recognise when somebody may be feeling vulnerable or struggling and simply asking if they’re #AlrightPal? A localised hashtag, created by Barnsley Council, allowing people to show they’re open for discussion. The evidence suggests that taking the time to ask and listen with a non-judgemental ear has significant positive impacts to those in need.

Although the #AlrightPal? campaign is aimed at all vulnerable groups; the council has contacted a number of town centre barbers to show their support for the campaign, as research shows that males are considerably more likely to take their own life than females.

Many town centre barber shops welcomed the opportunity to get involved, putting up the poster to show that anybody can feel comfortable discussing their feelings in a non-judgemental environment. If you’re interested in promoting the event, why not download the poster here?

In addition to looking for support from barbers, a football tournament has been pulled together collaboratively with partners from the council, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Barnsley Football Club, MIND and Samaritans. The tournament will encourage people to get together, have a break and interact socially in an active manner as evidence also shows physical activity has significant improvements in mental health.  Around 120 people are expected to take part in the tournament which takes place at Barnsley Football Club Astroturf 2pm to 6pm on Saturday 9 September. Spectators are also welcome to come along to the event. Find out more here.

Cllr Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: “It is an awful tragedy every time somebody takes their own life. It makes a devastating impact on their friends and family and also others who are involved in providing support and care.

“The #AlrightPal? campaign we’re doing in Barnsley is such a simple but effective initiative. It reminds people that their unassuming efforts of taking the time to listen to somebody can go a long way in changing the outcomes of somebody who is struggling or feeling vulnerable. If you begin to recognise that a friend or colleague or whoever is acting unusual or seems down, you taking the time for them may just allow them to open up and seek the help and support they need.” 

The council’s public health responsibilities provide a duty to address many of the risk factors, such as alcohol and drug misuse as well as our wider responsibilities around access to healthcare, housing, employment and improving our offer of education and skills. The council is driving the work on suicide prevention through multiagency groups and local action plans to ensure partners are working together to reduce the number of people who take their own life.

Organisations including the Samaritans, MIND, and the World Health Organisation are supporting World Suicide Prevention Day, and their web pages provide information for a range of audiences, including people at risk of suicide, those affected by the loss of a loved one and professionals whose work may bring them into contact with the issue.

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