Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in News on 8th September, 2023
World Suicide Prevention Day is taking place this Sunday, 10 September and aims to raise awareness of suicide and how we can help to prevent people taking their own lives. This year continues the international theme of ‘Creating Hope Through Action’.
Around 100 people take their own life in Devon every year, the majority of whom have had no contact with mental health services.
The Letter of Hope was created by people in Devon with personal experience of suicide and is intended to provide hope and encouragement to people who are facing difficult times. This year, with the help of Recovery Devon, we have created two new versions of the letter; Letter for Tomorrow for young people written by young people, and Hope Letter, an Easy Read version for people with learning disabilities.
Astro is a young person who has mental health issues and has struggled with thoughts of suicide. They say: “If the Letter for Tomorrow saves just one life then it will have been incredibly worthwhile. Anyone who has ever experienced thoughts of taking their own life will know that it feels like a very dark and lonely place and, at that moment, suicide seems like the only way of taking away the pain. Those of us that have survived know that tomorrow can bring hope and better times – and the belief that life can be worth living again.”
Marie has been actively involved in producing the Letter of Hope and has a long history of mental health issues. She says: “It was a very emotional experience for those of us who wrote the letter. Each of us knows what it is like to feel that our options have run out and that suicide is the only answer – not just for us but also to ease the burden on the ones we love. Most of us have had those feelings on multiple occasions and some of us have put our thoughts into action and attempted suicide. Thankfully, we have all come through the ordeal and now we want to let others know that we understand their pain; that we care about them even though we don’t know them; that life can be good again and that support is available.”
George Adams, from our Safe from Suicide Team, says: “These letters support the theme of this year’s Word Suicide Prevention Day, which is about creating hope through action. All of the co-authors have experienced suicidal thinking and know what it is like to feel that taking their own life is the only solution – but they have survived and want to help others to do the same. Speaking to someone about how you are feeling is often the most important step, although we know it can be a very difficult one to take. Similarly, if you think a friend or loved one may be considering suicide, then talking to them can be a breakthrough moment.”
The Letter of Hope, Letter for Tomorrow and Hope Letter are available on our website. There are also audio versions that people can listen to. These audio versions were recorded by people with Lived Experience and offer the same powerful, hopeful message.