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Brighton Journal | 31st May 2020

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Brighton Company Tackles The Alarming Local Suicide Rates

Brighton Company Tackles The Alarming Local Suicide Rates
Kat Hoare
  • On 5th March 2020

In February, TV presenter Caroline Flack’s tragic death once again brought suicide back under the media spotlight. With the presenter’s famous Tweet “Be Kind”, people were shocked and saddened and left wondering what could have been done to prevent a person from taking their own life.

In 2018, Brighton was reported as having the third highest suicide rate in the UK and Grassroots Suicide Prevention is a Brighton -based organisation that tackles the issue by running training courses aimed at businesses and organisations who need specialised help in dealing with people at risk of suicide or self harm.  Michael Jarvis, Charity Officer at Grassroots confirmed that in 2020 Brighton was currently “still in the top 3 or 4 cities with the highest amount of suicides in the UK”. With the huge rate of homelessness in Brighton which inevitable leads to mental health issues Brighton is naturally susceptible to people committing suicide. An estimated 320,000 people are homeless in the UK, according to the latest research by Shelter.

Brighton unfortunately has many social causes of homelessness, such as a lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment, as well as life events which cause individuals to become homeless

Grassroots focus on providing this very relevant training to companies and organisations that deal with high risk or vulnerable groups, which include: the homeless, refugees and those with addiction issues. However, they warned about the being misled by some statistics on who is likely to be vulnerable to taking their own lives.  Although it is true that 75% of suicides are committed by men, there are an equal number of men and women who attempt to take their own lives and thus  stress that it is important to focus equally on vulnerable women and men.

1 person in 15 will attempt suicide in their lifetime, but a staggering 1 in 5 people will think about committing suicide.  Grassroots’clients include a wide range of local companies from the military and government offices to small digital media agencies which attract young staff.  Brighton Marina sought their help when their cleaning and security staff were so often faced with dealing with suicidal customers and needed professional guidance how best to handle these difficult situations.

Another myth about suicide is that more people are likely to be depressed and feel suicidal during the cold, grey winter months.  However, Michael Jarvis confirmed that “the opposite is true as the number of suicides actually rises a little in the Summer months, but is otherwise fairly constant throughout the year”.

The company emphasises how important the small actions of friends or colleagues who simply listen and be around for them are and they offer the following advice,:

If you are worried about a friend or colleague, they give the following advice:

  • Be alert – Not everyone who thinks about suicide will tell someone, but there may be warning signs.
  • Be honest – Tell the person why you’re worried about them, and ask about suicide. Tell them you want to know how they really are, and that it’s OK to talk about suicide.
  • Listen – Just listening is one of the most helpful things you can do. Try not to judge or give advice.
  • Get them some help – It’s OK if you don’t know how; the ideas on this page can get you started.
  • Take care of yourself – You may find it helpful to discuss your feelings with another friend, or a confidential service

Grassroots Prevention are holding their next workshop in Brighton on 25 / 26 March at Friends Meeting House:

You can also contact the Samaritans:

a 24 hour confidential, listening service providing emotional support for anyone in crisis.

Call 116 1234  ( free) all 116 123 (free)Email








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