A campaign to help reduce suicide rates is taking place in Swindon car parks.
The Samaritans are joining forces with Swindon PCT and Swindon Borough Council to help raise awareness of the issue and promote services that are available to people feeling vulnerable or depressed.
Town centre multi-storey car parks have been identified as ‘high risk’ locations for those contemplating suicide. In a bid to prevent these tragedies, Swindon now has notices in its parking facilities, urging distressed or depressed people to contact Samaritans. Up to 100 Samaritans posters are also on display on staircases and in lifts, and the majority of car park staff have already been trained to provide mental health first aid. This will enable them to look out for signs of distress and offer help.
Councillor Colin Lovell, cabinet member for a safer & stronger community, commented: “We are very happy to help in any way we can to ensure people get the help and guidance they need during bleak times.”
Frances Mayes, Public Health Programme Manager at Swindon PCT, established a Suicide Audit Group to encourage organisations to work together to reduce death by suicide. She commented: “Swindon is performing well compared to national and South West rates. For the period 2005/06/07 Swindon saw a decline in suicides and we have already reached the target for 2010. The group is not complacent however, and is constantly developing new initiatives to help reduce numbers even further. “
Richard Moss, Director of Swindon and District Samaritans, said:
“We are delighted to be part of this group and to work with partner organisations to reach vulnerable people. This campaign should help us to raise awareness of Samaritans and what we can do to help people in distress.
“Samaritans believes that offering people the opportunity to be listened to in confidence, and accepted without prejudice, can alleviate despair and suicidal feelings. We also believe that in a society where people are able to share feelings of emotional distress openly, without fear of being judged, fewer people die by suicide, and it is our aim to make emotional health a mainstream issue.”
To find out about the services provided by the Samaritans, people can call 08457 90 90 90, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also write to Samaritans at Chris, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA or log on to www.samaritans.org for more information.