For World Suicide Prevention Day, Barnsley Council is continuing the conversation around mental health and wellbeing with the #AlrightPal campaign. The international day aims to raise awareness of suicide and encourage connections between people and communities to prevent it.
The campaign encourages everyone to feel more comfortable with speaking openly about their mental health, in turn, helping people to be more honest and understanding. It focuses on breaking the taboo around talking about mental health and helping to connect people, so they know that they aren't alone with the issues they may face.
This year, the campaign has teamed up with resident and creative Jeff, to shed light on just how important creating meaningful connections and talking about mental health with trusted people can be. Make sure to check out Barnsley Council Facebook and Twitter pages on Thursday 10 September at 11am.
For now, Jeff had to say: "Asking is just as important as telling. Everyone has a story to tell, it's just sometimes the pages are a little heavy or tight shut. We have to keep asking in the hope that one day the page will turn."
There is lots of support available to people who may be struggling with their mental health on the council's Alright Pal webpage at barnsley.gov.uk/AlrightPal, including details about the new 24/7 mental health helpline and details of local and national support. Details of the Amparo service, which provides support for anyone affected by suicide are also on the webpage and national charity SOBS for adults who have been bereaved by suicide.
Cllr Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: "Suicide is not inevitable or unavoidable and the impact of this is complex, and the effects are profound; not only on the family and friends of the person who has died but also on the wider community. This is why we are committed to working with partners and commissioning services in the borough to provide support."
Julia Burrows, Director of Public Health, added: "Locally, we have a well-established and evidence-based suicide plan in place. Still, we need to continue striving to be bold and innovative in our approaches to improving the population's mental health and wellbeing. As part of this work, Barnsley will be establishing a Zero Suicide Ambition.
This is a bold ambition which will see us continuing to work with partners to create communities that can promote wellbeing and a greater awareness of mental health. This ambition will assist combined efforts with partners to drive forward shared leadership, innovation and collaboration to make sure Barnsley is a place where everyone can achieve their potential."