What is the purpose of the film?
The film aims to encourage young people aged 16-19 to seek help early at times of crisis, and to improve their likelihood to support each other when things are difficult. It has been developed by young people from North and East Glasgow but is of relevance to young people nationally.
What’s it about?
The film acknowledges that young people experience a wide range of stressors which impact on their mental health. The key messages of the film are that young people are not alone when experiencing distress, it’s normal to sometimes feel this way and that help is there if they need it. It lets them know how they might be able to help themselves and their friends get through difficult times in their lives, and contains information about sources of support.
Why is it needed?
An average of two people a day die by suicide in Scotland. People living in more deprived areas at increased risk, and young people are particularly vulnerable. It is essential to reduce the culture of silence which surrounds suicide in order to increase people’s ability to seek and receive support.
For further information about suicide and suicide prevention visit http://www.chooselife.net
Who has it been developed by?
North and East Glasgow Suicide Prevention Partnership have been working together
to innovate in suicide prevention, creating new learning that can be shared nationally.
Positive Mental Attitudes (PMA), part of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, led the development of the film with the support of Glasgow City Council and the Choose Life National Programme at NHS Health Scotland, as part of a wider project called ‘NAEdrama’; this project provided opportunities for young people to be involved in creating the film, including helping to develop its content and getting involved in film making through the production of a ‘making of’ documentary. You can see the content development workshops and the ‘Making the video’ footage at the NAEdrama You Tube channel.
Other partners who have supported this project include Glasgow East Arts Company, Lifelink, Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre and Breathing Space.
The film and film-making project was directed and produced by Abigail Howkins for Diversity Films. For more information on their work visit http://www.diversityfilms.org.uk
How does the NAEdrama project support the national Choose Life strategy for suicide prevention?
Choose Life is the Scottish Government’s 10-year strategy and action plan to prevent suicide in Scotland. Targeting at-risk populations in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation is necessary to reduce the suicide rate of Scotland overall.
How will you know if the project has made a difference?
PMA will be facilitating screening workshops for schools and youth groups to establish if the film has made an impact on the target audience’s intentions to seek help for their problems or offer help to others who are experiencing difficulties.
Surely this is an issue for Scottish Government and the NHS to deal with, not communities and individuals?
Reducing the number of people killing themselves in Scotland is a key priority for the Scottish Government and the NHS, however it is important not to underestimate the things we can all do to help. We all have a responsibility to look after our own and others’ mental health. Anyone can have thoughts of suicide, and everyone can learn to help. The best way to identify the possibility of suicide is to ask directly. Openly listening to and discussing someone’s thoughts of suicide can be a source of relief for them and can be key to preventing the immediate danger of suicide.
Choose Life also provides suicide prevention courses to help you respond positively. You could start with a short exploration session around the question ‘Should we talk about suicide?’ or a half-day training programme which teaches participants how to recognise the signs and signpost people to sources of help and support. There are also two-day workshops for anyone who wants to feel more confident in helping to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Since 2004, around 30,000 individuals have taken part. For more information, visit http://www.chooselife.net
Can I use it with people in my own community?
Yes – PMA are also producing a PDF resource for schools, colleges and youth groups who wish to use the film themselves to generate learning about suicide prevention. This will be available at http://www.positivementalattitudes.org.uk from early June.
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, what should you do?
If you are worried that someone is suicidal, ask them. It won’t put the thought in their head if it wasn’t there before and it could help save their life. Likewise, if you are contemplating suicide, talk to someone you trust or phone a helpline. You can ring Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87, Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, or ChildLine on 0800 11 11.