Open, direct and honest talk about suicide encourages help-seeking and is the key to prevention - this was one of the messages delivered at a special event.
Rector Rev Andrew Rawding was speaking to participants during safeTALK training at St Anne’s Church in Dungannon recently.
A group of people from the East Tyrone area participated in the three hour suicide alertness training.
The aim of the event was to help identify people with thoughts of suicide and to keep them safe.
A certificate was awarded to all the participants for being ‘suicide alert helpers.’
The training acknowledged that thoughts of suicide are complex and personal, but also understandable.
Local Rector, Revd Andrew Forster, highlighted vulnerable groups including those who are coping with illness, debt problems, business stress and relationship break-ups.
Hearing that relationships are the context of suicide intervention, participants were united in their intention to create a suicide safer community by reducing social isolation and loneliness for people, even with a simple smile.
Revd Rawding is currently delivering the training within the Diocese of Armagh, Church of Ireland, but will be delivering safeTALK more widely as a part of a suicide safer community strategy.
Earlier this year Dungannon based suicide awareness and prevention charity The Niamh Louise Foundation urged those who needed help, not to be afraid to ask for it.
The charity sees on average, 5-6 people every day for interventions, complementary therapy, mentoring and befriending, and one to one work, throughout the year.
Alongside headquarters on Killybracky Road, Dungannon, the foundation also has outreach centres in Coalisland and Cookstown.
The message which the charity want to get across to people in the area is that ‘it is ok to ask for help’.
Alarmingly, more Dungannon people died as a result of suicide in 2008 than in the six years between 1998 and 2004, according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.