THE NHS in Somerset, voluntary organisations and Somerset County Council are urging people to complete free online training on how to talk about suicide.

They hope more than 100 people will complete the 20-minute session on World Suicide Prevention Day this Thursday (September 10) so that fewer people take their own lives.

The training, developed by the Zero Suicide Alliance, is for anyone in Somerset interested in learning more about suicide and gaining lifesaving skills and knowledge.

It includes facts surrounding suicide and provides advice and guidance on how to understand the signs someone may be at risk.

Examples of different scenarios and how to talk comfortably and directly about suicide are included.

Dr Peter Bagshaw, clinical lead for mental health and dementia at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Suicide is a major issue for society and a leading cause of years of life lost.

"Suicides are not inevitable. There are many ways in which services, communities, individuals and society, as a whole, can help to prevent suicides.

"Suicide can affect anybody and there isn't a community in Somerset where people haven't been touched by suicide.

"Only a minority of people, who complete suicide, are known to mental health services.

"We need to raise awareness and spread the message that it’s time to talk about suicide. It’s time to say, let’s talk.

"It’s important to remember than talking to someone in distress won't make the situation worse."

Cllr Clare Paul, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at County Hall, said: "We are assisting with highlighting Somerset Suicide Prevention Partnership Group’s message that suicide is everyone’s business.

"Whether you work in a hospital or own a local shop, we can all make a difference in reaching out and offering support to those in need.

"We know that if someone is having suicidal thoughts, receiving support from someone else can make a significant difference.

"Support is available if you need it on the Healthy Somerset website. Please do visit this site after you have completed the training if you need to talk.

"The training may be challenging if you have been personally impacted by a suicide or attempted suicide in the past.

"Please consider having someone supportive nearby or agreeing with a friend or colleague to do the training at the same time and then contact each other afterwards."

Visit the Healthy Somerset website, join in the conversation on Twitter and say how you found the training by tweeting #letstalkaboutsuicide2020

Listen to the Somerset Emotional Wellbeing podcast available on Spotify, Apple podcasts, and all other podcast apps.


Information about resources and further support:

Samaritans – Call 116 123 – There round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

PAPYRUS – Call 0800 068 41 41 – Support line for young people at risk of suicide. Various opening hours.

CALM – Call 0800 58 58 58. Men’s Helpline open 5pm – Midnight.

Mindline ( in Somerset 01823 – 276 892. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for adults and young people.

Young Somerset Wellbeing Support ( – one to one and groups on-line

GP - Your GP can refer you to a range of NHS mental health services including talking treatments such as CBT and Crisis support.

Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service

Support for individuals, communities and professionals in Somerset, aged 14+ who need help and support after a suicide.

Help is at Hand (– support after someone may have died by suicide

Apps - There are numerous apps to promote wellbeing and support people at risk of suicide check out NHS Recommended Apps (

In an emergency:

•Go to a Hospital A&E

•Call 999 if you can’t get to A&E – The call is free. Explain what is happening to you. You can stay on the line while you wait for help to arrive.

NHS Help - for suicidal thoughts