Talking is the first step

Lara Amusan, Head of Service for Mental Health at Certitude, delivers our Mental Health First Aid Training which includes a session on suicide.

She recently provided training to employees at the Glades Shopping Centre in Bromley.

Lara Amusan

“I’m glad that we have this day on the calendar to talk about suicide. Suicide is preventable. People don’t want to die; they just want to make what is hurting them so badly to stop. It’s important that we get this message across because, like so many topics associated with mental health, there is a lot of stigma and people thinking about suicide are on the increase. In 2014 there were 6,122 suicides in the UK – more than 16 people per day (ONS 2016). But there is hope, there is always hope if we can start people talking.

Our Mental Health First Aid Training is for people, to help them understand and recognise possible signs and symptoms of mental health conditions in their co-workers, friends and family.  The Glades Shopping Centre has been very supportive of Certitude in the last year including hosting our curated photography exhibition “SELF – Portraits in Social Care”, so we were delighted when the team requested Mental Health First Aid training.

The more people who are educated and aware of mental health conditions, the more likely it is that they or people around them will spot the early signs. This could help someone get treatment quickly and prevent that person ending up in crisis or even suicidal. When I’m training I tell people not to be afraid to raise the subject of suicide with someone. If a person is suicidal they are unlikely to reach out for help so by asking the question yourself, you are certainly not going to make matters any worse and you might make things much better.

There is no strict formula to support someone who is feeling suicidal but as a guide we use ALGEE which offers easy-to-remember tips.

Throughout these steps it’s so important to remain non-judgemental, to listen without offering an opinion and to keep your body language neutral. These are small adjustments, but they could help someone you know start talking about how they feel and begin to move away from suicidal thoughts and towards recovery, after all mental health affects us all. Recovery is a reality.”

Based in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham, Solidarity in a Crisis supports people in distress by providing out-of-hours emotional support over the phone and in person. The service is run by Peer Supporters who have their own experience of facing and overcoming crisis. Their award-winning work exemplifies the project’s underlying ethos; that it is possible to approach a mental health crisis in a holistic and person-centred way.

Contact Solidarity in a Crisis on freephone 0300 123 1922 Mon-Fri between 6pm and 12am or Sat-Sun between 12pm and 12am. You can also text us on 07889 756 087 or 07889 756 083 or email