Publish date: 5 September 2023

This World Suicide Prevention Day (Sunday 10 September), West London NHS Trust and partners are encouraging people to complete a free 20-minute suicide awareness course.

In London, around 10 people each week take their own lives. The big question is: If you knew someone was in crisis, would you know what to say?

The aim of the training is to help people spot the signs that someone might be feeling suicidal and how they can access support.

The 20-minute course takes the viewer through a series of scenarios and offers guidance about opening a conversation with someone they’re concerned about.

So far, more than 300,000 people across London have taken the training. Take the training here:

In West London, the local councils have teamed up with the Trust and Brentford FC Community Sports Trust to help spread the word.

Gail Dearing, Associate Director of Community Mental Health Services at West London NHS Trust, said:

“I’m involved with suicide prevention campaigns for both personal and professional reasons. I lost a friend 10 years ago to suicide and miss her every day. As a Mental Health Social Worker for many years, I have experienced the loss of service users too often and know what supporting their families and friends through that ordeal is like.

“An important part of my role now is making sure support mechanisms are in place to prevent suicides across our communities in West London. We do this through our local mental health services and developing partnerships to reach more people in need of support”.

“Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We can all look out for each other, spot the signs of mental distress and challenge the stigma associated with seeking support with mental health”.

Councillor Samia Chaudhary, Hounslow Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, public health and transformation, said: “The suicide awareness training is easy to access and doesn’t take much time to complete. By the end, you will be more aware of the steps you can take to support someone you know or care about who is struggling or feeling overwhelmed.

“Taking this training is an act of compassion that, ultimately could save lives. We all need to talk more about this most sensitive of subjects and make people feel comfortable with opening up, sharing their feelings and admitting they need help.

“The theme of this year’s World Suicide Awareness Day is creating hope through action. As a compassionate and caring community, we can all take action to shine the light of hope where people have been touched with the darkness of despair.”

Councillor Josh Blacker, cabinet member for healthy lives at Ealing Council, said: “It is tragic and saddening that suicide remains a major cause of death, particularly for our young people. World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity for us to prioritise mental health and wellbeing, so it’s important that the council is supporting the #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign. This is an opportunity to reflect, think and talk more freely about our mental health. By encouraging more Londoners to take the Zero Suicide Alliance’s free online training, we can support people to talk openly about suicide and end the stigma around mental health.”

Dr Nicola Lang, Director of Public Health at Hammersmith and Fulham Council, said: ‘Hammersmith and Fulham council works closely with all our partners especially West London Health Trust, the police, and A&E departments.  We have noticed increasing levels of mental health need in the borough.  On this world suicide prevention day, we’re sharing our plans to publicise help for young adults, and work creatively with WLHT on suicide prevention in known clients, to reduce their risk’

Emily Donovan, Health and Wellbeing Manager at Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, said: “At Brentford FC Community Sports Trust we adopt a holistic approach to health, and our work draws on the power of the Brentford badge to normalise conversations around how we are really feeling.

“This training could help to save lives. As we approach World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, we’re encouraging staff and participants to take the training and access tools that will help them to spot the signs of mental distress and start a conversation with someone they’re worried about. 

“By normalising conversations around how we are really feeling, and encouraging others to do the same, we are actively tackling the stigma around accessing mental health support.”