Suicide and mental health : Local people urged to talk about ‘the elephant in the room’

Sonia Montgomery, Western Trust Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department; Shauna Houston, Public Health Agency; Hannah Magee, Western Trust Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department; Cllr Thomas O'Reilly, Chair PCSP; Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; Conor McCafferty, ZEST; Eimear O'Kane, Western Trust Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department; Nuala McKeever, North Star Health and Wellbeing Centre and Anne McKenzie, North Star Health and Wellbeing Centre
Sonia Montgomery, Western Trust Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department; Shauna Houston, Public Health Agency; Hannah Magee, Western Trust Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department; Cllr Thomas O'Reilly, Chair PCSP; Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; Conor McCafferty, ZEST; Eimear O'Kane, Western Trust Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department; Nuala McKeever, North Star Health and Wellbeing Centre and Anne McKenzie, North Star Health and Wellbeing Centre

The Western Trust has urged people to talk about mental health and suicide as it linked in with organisations highlighting World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday and the forthcoming World Mental Health Day in October.

Describing these issues as “the elephant in the room” the Trust is urging people to use the hashtag #ElephantTalk.

Health experts in the west said that it was “impossible to talk about preventing suicide without talking about mental and emotional health and wellbeing”.

A spokesperson said: “This year, the Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department of the Western Trust is linking World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September and World Mental Health Day on 10 October to encourage people to talk about the ‘elephant in the room’, in other words, the things that we often choose to ignore – our emotions and how we feel.

“The respective theme for both campaigns is ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’. Central to this theme is how we communicate with each other, how we express our emotions and how we access help when we most need it.

“In tough times for a whole host of reasons, people find this very difficult, meaning that negative thoughts and feelings get bottled up and hidden away often leading to adverse long-term physical and mental health consequences.”

To help start the conversation, The Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department has developed a completely interactive campaign pack containing information, resources and tips to help you, your colleagues and your organisation support this important campaign.

Visit the home page of the Western Trust website www.westerntrust.hscni.net to access the pack.

However the Trust spokesperson added: “Mostly though, we want you to talk to each other! We invite you to share this information, particularly the signposting and helplines, with family, friends and work colleagues. You never know who it might help.”

For further information contact the Western Trust Health Improvement Department on (028) 71865127 or email: health.improvement@westerntrust.hscni.net