September 10th marks the annual event to raise awareness of the 800,000 people a year who take their own lives. This year the charity Samaritans are encouraging people to use the message and twitter hashtag #ITSOKTOTALK to encourage individuals to speak to a friend or contact their service if they are in crisis.
Aberdeen representatives of both the UK and Scottish Parliaments are urging people across the city to speak up about their own worries, and speak to friends and family who they may be worried about. MP for Aberdeen North, Kirsty Blackman said: “It can be daunting, and a bit difficult to try and speak to someone who is going through a difficult time, and often it can be hard to spot someone not coping if they are hiding it well. There are a lot of pressures facing people these days, and sometimes stress and uncertainty can become too much to bear- but it is vital that folk recognise there is always someone who wants to listen to you and try to help.
“It’s ok to talk, no matter how scary the conversation feels. You don’t have to be an expert to ask someone if they are ok and you don’t need to have all the answers for them. Sometimes it’s just about letting a person know they are not alone, and there is always a way to get through tough times. Whether it’s a friend, family member, charity, or health professional – always let someone know if you are struggling.”
Mark McDonald is encouraging people who want to help anyone suffering to put themselves forward to volunteer with the charity. The Aberdeen Donside MSP said: “It is incredibly difficult to talk about the sensitive subject of people taking their own lives, but one of the key things we must encourage is for folk to speak out about how they feel before they get to such a dark place in their life. I want to say to all of my constituents that it’s Ok to talk and if feel you have no one to turn to there is always someone willing to listen at the Samaritans.
“I recently met with the charity in Aberdeen and was moved to speak to staff there and hear about the fantastic but challenging work they do to help so many people in their time of deep crisis. However, I was reminded that this great service depends on the brilliant volunteers there and right now the service needs more people to help them. I would urge anyone who would like to make a difference to get in touch and see how you could help.”