With Monday 10th September marking World Suicide Prevention Day, Barnsley will be working with partners including MIND, SWPFT, South Yorkshire Police, Healthwatch, Barnsley Samaritans as well as Barnsley Football club to encourage residents to spot the signs and take action if they have concerns over someone’s mental wellbeing.
The #AlrightPal? Campaign from Barnsley Council demonstrates the importance of people spotting signs and choosing to take a small action and asking if a person is ‘alright?’. If they’re struggling, stay calm, listen, be yourself and offer reassurance and advise them to seek help, such as visiting their GP.
To mark the significance of suicide in Barnsley, 24 chalk painted ‘#AlrightPal’ signs will be sprayed around Oakwell stadium before the Barnsley FC game against Walsall on Saturday 8 September as well as another 24 signs will be painted around Barnsley Town Centre on Monday 10 September.
24 signifies the average number of people who take their own life each year in Barnsley which equates to one person every two weeks which the partnership hopes can be reduced by encouraging people to spot the signs and get help early. The spray painting will be supported with a strong social media campaign which will encourage users to share and take note of the ‘#AlrightPal?’ message.
Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Safeguarding) said: “It is a dreadful 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 with their mental health. 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.”
Organisations including the Samaritans, MIND, ChilyPep 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.