Suicide Prevention Week 9 - 15 September 2019

The theme for Suicide Prevention Week 2019 is: ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’.  Suicide prevention is everyone’s business and the Suicide Prevention Action Plan for Scotland, Every Life Matters, continues this commitment. The target of reducing the Scottish suicide rate from 2019 by 20% by 2022 will only be achieved by developing and strengthening greater collaboration at national, local and individual friends/families levels.  We are all partners in preventing suicide and we all have a part to play in ensuring every life matters in Scotland.

 Ask Tell Save a Life

That’s the message NHS Health Scotland is sending out to people across the country to mark this year’s Suicide Prevention Week (9 – 15 September 2019).  NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland worked together to develop an online resource, Ask Tell Save a Life: Every Life Matters, to support suicide prevention, as part of the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan.  This online resource aims to raise awareness of the issues that affect people and which can sometimes lead them to think about harming themselves or even taking their own life. The animation is designed to increase the confidence of individuals to support anyone in distress, by directing them to the specialist help they need at that time.

 The emotional impact on families, friends and communities bereaved by suicide is devastating and can have long lasting negative effects on those left behind. The ripple effect on families, friends and communities adds another dimension which would increase this figure dramatically.

We are asking everyone to be alert to the warning signs of suicide in people close to them. The message is:

 ….if you’re worried about someone, such as a friend, family member or workmate, asking them directly about their feelings can help to save their life.

 The campaign acknowledges that signs of suicide can be difficult to spot, but encourages people to take all signs of distress seriously, even if it seems a person is living a normal life. It also assures people that asking a person about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference. 

People who have tried to take their life can teach us about how the words and actions of others are important. They often talk movingly about reaching the point where they could see no alternative but to take their own life. Despite this, they also had a strong desire to live but wanted someone to intervene and stop them from ending their life. By taking a minute to show you care and asking directly about suicide, you could change their life.

If someone you are close to shows signs of not being themself, you will normally notice.  When changes in their behaviour begin to worry you – even if the signs come and go – the most important aspect is to ask them about it.  Talking openly about their feelings can help a person get clarity about what is troubling them. Starting this conversation helps them gain a perspective on their distress. You don’t need to have a solution to their problems – being there for them and listening, without judgement, shows that you care and their distress, and ultimately their happiness, is important to you.

If you are worried about someone ask if they are thinking about suicide. It won’t put the thought into their head if it wasn’t there before, but it can be a big relief for them to be able to open up fully and acknowledge they need help and support.  By taking the time to show you care and are there to listen, you could change their life.


To support this campaign NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education Scotland have made the animations widely and easily accessible at

For information on what do if you are worried someone is feeling suicidal, visit NHS Inform:

Support is also available from:

Breathing Space 0800 838587

Samaritans 116 123

NHS 111

Childline 8000 1111