Suicide reduction push in rural areas

Approximately one million people die by suicide each year worldwide, equating to one death by suicide every 40 seconds.

In Scotland, on average two people die by suicide each day and in the North-east over 50 people died by suicide in 2011.

Whilst these figures are stark, representatives from key organisations met recently in Turriff to discuss awareness raising initiatives and to highlight the agencies that can offer support to people who feel lonely or in distress.

Choose Life Coordinator for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Neil Murray said: “There is evidence of relatively high levels of stress, hardship and suicide in some rural communities in Scotland and as much of Aberdeenshire is rural it is important we meet with agencies to coordinate our efforts and to help build awareness.

“The nature of rural life and farming in particular can result in stresses caused by a number of factors including; financial and business worries, unpredictable weather, long hours, family problems, health issues and social isolation.

“We want people to know that there are a number of organisations that specialise in helping people from a rural background and the meeting helped key people share ideas about getting information out to those who need it.”

Choose Life was launched in 2002 and Scotland’s suicide rate has reduced by 17% since its launch.

If you are worried someone is feeling suicidal then a free guide on spotting the signs, starting a conversation and being a good listener is available at www.chooselife.net/ask

For more information on Choose Life contact Aberdeen City and Shire Coordinator Neil Murray at neil.murray@samh.org.uk

The Samaritans offer an opportunity to talk through anything that is troubling you: they can be contacted on 08457 90 90 90 or at jo@samaritans.org

For people who have worked in land–based occupations the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution offer a support service between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday: they can be contacted on 0300 111 4166 or at gatepost@rsabi.org.uk