Gloucestershire County Council and suicide prevention partners (GSPPF) formed a working group to discuss potential ideas for activities to raise awareness of suicide prevention and to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September in 2016.
It was decided that the main theme of the campaign would be to encourage people to complete a pledge/commitment card on why they’re reaching out to prevent suicide, they would then have their photo taken holding the card and this would then be posted on social media with the #GlosCares and #WSPD2016 hashtags. We arranged for photos to be taken in advance of the day from people in the public eye (including the Bishop of Gloucester, the High Sherriff, and the Lord Lieutenant, Gloucester rugby players (Richard Hibbard, Tom Savage and Billy Twelvetrees), public sector leaders, Cheltenham Town Football Club Community Trust, MPs, local councillors and public sector leaders). We were then able to schedule a stream of posts on Twitter of these photos using the hashtags.
We supplied copies of the pledge cards to the Friendship Café, the crisis café at the Cavern, libraries and they were also available for download from the GCC and CCG websites.
We also arranged for the Samaritans to visit Cheltenham Railway station on the day to provide information to station users and there were 2 community engagement vehicles (the CCG bus and the police’s NEV bus) situated at the cross and at the docks in Gloucester city centre where people could talk openly about suicide, and they could get access to the resources and information provided by charities such as CALM, PAPYRUS, SOBS, the Samaritans,Carers Gloucestershire to name a few. We also encouraged members of the public to complete a pledge card and these were posted onto Twitter throughout the day.
We managed to speak to a lot of people; some of whom were deeply affected by suicide. We were able to provide lots of information and sources of support that they otherwise might not have known or been aware about.