Suicide prevention campaigns are an essential part, no, they are the most important part, of the media. Raising awareness of what support can be offered to those presenting with ‘warning signs’ is absolutely critical in showing people that there is a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, and that suicide is never the answer- it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, a problem that can always be fixed.
With suicide rates having tragically increased in recent years, something which the Pandemic has certainly had an effect on, it is now more important than ever for organisations, big and small, to get together and launch suicide prevention campaigns, both on a national and a local level.
One example of a national suicide prevention campaign that has been used to raise awareness of suicide can be seen in the, ‘There is always hope’, campaign, which was developed by Network Rail and mental health charity ‘Chasing the Stigma’, to address the rise in mental health issues fueled by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The primary objective of the campaign was to ‘re-frame the association of the railway as a place to take your life.’ It did this by highlighting the railway as an ‘uplifting place where connections are made, and journeys begin’, via a short video, which can be viewed above. The video started by showing a young man looking distressed and withdrawn. It progressed to show him surrounded by positive moments of hope as he moved through a railway station. This underlying theme of hope underpinned the campaigns message which stated that; ‘no matter how desperate you may feel, there are people around you who care, and there is always hope.’
Another example of a suicide prevention campaign, though in this instance, a local one, is ‘Another way.’ Released at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week in 2019, the campaign consisted of a short film created by Doncaster Council, (with the help of Doncaster Samaritans), which aimed to reduce the number of male suicides across the borough. It did this by reinforcing the fact that there are avenues for men to seek support, and that talking to someone about their issues will help. The film, (as shown below), was very moving, with it incorporating a poem written by a local suicide survivor.
The purpose of both of these suicide prevention campaign’s was just that, to prevent suicides, by encouraging people to seek help before they reach crisis point, as well as encouraging governments to make suicide prevention a priority on the political agenda.
They were both a success at reducing suicide rates, and are proof as to why more campaigns need to be rolled out, not just on Mental Health Awareness Week, or on ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’, but year-round, for the fact is:
Prevention is key, and suicide prevention campaigns can help to deliver that prevention.