I am (really not) okay - Norfolk County Council and partners launch campaign to reduce suicides

30 November 2017

The onset of Winter can herald the start of a difficult time for some,  and with suicides higher in Norfolk than the UK average (particularly in men), Norfolk County Council’s Public Health  and a range of partners  are working together to ensure the information and resources are there for vulnerable people, their families and professionals.

As part of its commitment to reduce suicides, Norfolk County Council have launched a series of resources to help support individuals considering ending their life.  The ‘Safety Plan Diary’ and ‘Keeping Safe’ guides are based on advice and experiences of survivors of suicide and their families to offer practical help for individuals and professionals, as well as friends and relatives who may be concerned about somebody they know.  

Available to download at www.norfolk.gov.uk/iamokay, the resources offer information on how to recognise the signs that somebody may be at risk of taking their own life as well as some useful prompts to encourage individuals to open up and talk about their feelings.

Margaret Dewsbury, chair of Communities Committee said:  “We should all be able to recognise the signs and learn how to react if we feel friends, neighbours or family need support. These resources offer invaluable advice and information so that everyone can help reduce the number of suicides in Norfolk.”

Dr Louise Smith, Director of Public Health said “Suicides are at unacceptable levels within Norfolk and are impacting men in particular.  We are committed to bringing this number down in Norfolk and by working closely with partners such as Mind, Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Norfolk Coroner’s Office, and Norfolk & Suffolk Constabulary,  we  wish to show that support is available both for individuals at risk of suicide, their friends and family and those who have been bereaved.  Charities such as Samaritans, Mind, and CALM play a hugely important role when it comes to helping people with mental health issues and by taking this partnership approach we can help deliver the support needed to help people”.

Cedric Anselin, football commentator on Radio Norfolk and former Norwich City Football Club player, is keen to help promote the campaign to prevent suicide in Norfolk adds:  “Living with depression myself, I am very pleased to see that Norfolk County Council are prioritising suicide prevention.  Depression can be a tricky subject to tackle head on, people avoid talking about it, and men in particular can often stick their heads in the sand. I can see how these resources could be really helpful for people who are worried about someone they love, they offer down to earth practical advice as well as signposting to all the organisations who offer specialist advice and support in Norfolk”.

If suicide has impacted you or your family or if you are concerned about someone and need some support, please do not hesitate to call one of the helplines given on our website www.norfolk.gov.uk/iamokay. There are helplines specifically for the farming community, men, young people, and bereaved families amongst others.

Media case study – Cedric Anselin shares his story on how he’s coped with depression

Cedric is available for interview - please contact the media desk for more information.

It’s been almost 12 months since Cedric Anselin came close to taking his own life at his home.   After seeking help from a friend he convinced him that suicide was not the answer.  The following day Cedric was diagnosed with severe depression which looking back he realised he’d been suffering from for many years.

“Just getting a diagnosis of depression from the Doctor at Hellesdon Hospital was in itself a huge step forward. I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  For me being told I had an illness was the first step forward in my recovery. The last 12 months have been really tough and there are no instant cures for depression, you learn to live with it,  I have ups and downs but through medication and the support of a strong network of friends I now feel much more comfortable in myself.  Depression is like a weed, you can pluck it out and get rid of it for a while, but it can make its way back and it’s all about having the tools and support around you to help you cope with the bad days and learn to live with it.  I am extremely grateful that I am alive and living life to the full, I have retrained my way of thinking to ensure I see the positive in everything. Before I would have continual negative thoughts but now I really appreciate the small things. It’s the little things that matter – seeing the smile on my sons’ faces, watching them play football on a Saturday, waking up in the morning and feeling glad to be alive.  These are things that are important.

I find there are a few specific things for me that really help me stay positive when I’m having a bad day:

  1. Talk, talk and talk some more – surround yourself with positive friends and family
  2. Listen to feel good music
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Get out and about.  Avoid staying at home on your own.

There’s a huge amount of support out there in Norfolk, but sometimes it’s hard to take that first step.  That’s why it’s important to raise awareness of the growing mental health issues amongst men across the county.  If you are worried or concerned about a family member or friend, take that first step to talk about it directly with them.  Let them know you care, and that they are not alone.”

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