Suicide prevention roadshow to go on the road again

A vehicle promoting a message about suicide prevention will take to the roads again next week.

The mental health charity Mind Your Head and NHS service Choose Life have teamed up for the “Let’s talk about suicide prevention awareness roadshow”.

It will be touring the length and breadth of the isles hoping to take the message to thousands of people.

The campaign's publicity material encourages men to be more open about their feelings.
The campaign’s publicity material encourages men to be more open about their feelings.

This year the team is promoting the message that, “there is no shame in saying I’m not fine and it’s okay to ask for help”. There will be a particular focus on engaging with men.

Choose Life co-ordinator, Karen Smith, said: “This year’s message highlights that we can all play a vital role by talking to each other about our problems. It really is okay to say ‘I’m not fine’ and to feel comfortable in doing so.

“The important part is what we do with that information once it’s out in the open. There are a variety of places people can access help and there is no shame in doing so. We are aiming to highlight these places for the community of Shetland over the coming week.”

The timetable for the week is very busy and includes school assembly talks delivered in Unst, Yell and Brae along with the official launch of a new initiative called “Da Grubby Hut.”

The Grubby Hut idea was developed last year when the team visited several male-dominated industry workplaces during the roadshow. Men are an important target as the Mind Your Head 2014 survey highlighted men’s mental health awareness as a priority area. Statistically men are more at risk of suicide.

Grubby Huts has been designed to go into workplaces and encourage help-seeking behaviour while promoting mental health positively.

Anouska Civico from Mind Your Head said: “It provides an opportunity for us to start conversations about mental health and wellbeing with an important target group while also gathering information to help inform our new support services.”

• On Saturday 12th September a charity football game will be held with the aim of raising awareness of mental health issues.

The match will see a Mind Your Head “Dream Team” take on the mighty SFA “Oldies”. The Dream Team players are being kept secret till the day but the charity promises that some “weel kent faces” will be taking part.

Mind Your Head chairwoman Shona Manson said: “I hope we will see a big crowd at the game to help support our fantastic Dream Team, show support for suicide prevention awareness and at the same time help us raise funds for our new mental health support services in Shetland.”

The roadshow will launch on Monday with an online campaign promoting #SPAW15 along with important campaign messages during the week.

Mind Your Head is urging the community to share the information which will be circulated during the week on social media.

• Last year there were more than 100 face-to-face conversations and online engagements reached over 3,000 local individuals. This last year the roadshow will again be touring in a vehicle loaned for the week by Jim’s Garage.



Add Your Comment
  • Ken Milligan

    • September 5th, 2015 8:14

    Good luck to the team working on this project again this year, spreading an important message and encouraging conversations that will, quite simply, save lives. Hope Shona pulls on her boots for the dream team given Gary and Ian’s skills, she’s sure to be a star!

  • Dr Martin Scholtz

    • September 5th, 2015 9:22

    Thank you, Karen, for the fantastic work you and your team are doing. Your work is so important as the stigma of mental illness, especially in men, is still a big problem in Shetland. No one should suffer in silence.

  • Dr Almarie Harmse

    • September 5th, 2015 9:29

    Thank you, Mind Your Head and Choose Life, for bringing a clear message to all the people of Shetland.

  • David Spence

    • September 6th, 2015 2:06

    I was watching an interesting documentary about Caesarean Birth and this of the microbiome, and how this type of birth (which is necessary in many cases, but statistics show there is an increase in mothers wanting this type of delivery than the usual method) is causing many illnesses in later life (including psychological behavioral patterns) due to the microbes in your body not getting the correct amount of nutrition (via the normal method of birth and the mothers milk) in the very early years (6 months -1year, although 2 years would be best).

    Although it is not conclusive, research so far has made significant progress between actions of the microbiome and the lack of this through Caesarean Birth and the lack of using the mothers milk in the early years of being a baby.

    • Duncan Simpson

      • September 6th, 2015 16:39

      David I don’t know what documentary you’ve been watching but I do know for a fact that women who have caesarean births can breastfeed their babies as normal. I also do not see the relevance of your comment to this article about tackling mental health stigma.

      • David Spence

        • September 6th, 2015 19:37

        Duncan, it is taking into account the number of women who are having caesarean section and not breast feeding. It is this statistic which is showing certain differences between women breast feed after the baby is born by caesarean section to those who do not breast feed.

        There is also the data of women having a natural birth and breast feeding to those women having a natural birth and not breast feeding.

        If you are interested Duncan, the documentary is called ‘ Microbirth ‘.

  • Haydn Gear

    • September 7th, 2015 10:29

    My daughter Sian had a boy delivered by Caesarean section nearly four years ago, a procedure not to be taken lightly since recovery time exceeds that of natural birth. She enjoys the benefits of good health and is fighting fit as was her mother until she developed epilepsy two weeks after my son Emlyn was born. At the age of 43 she is “due” once more in 2016 which causes me concern. Risks become greater or so I am led to believe.As a matter of relevant interest , she breast fed my grandson with no ill effects and I am hopeful that things will be the same again. That said, a friend of hers ostensibly fit and well suggested post natal depression for some time. There had been no hint of any such tendency when they were at university which, to me, suggests physical reactions can lie at the root of mental changes over and above social mishaps, domestic troubles and the like.

    • David Spence

      • September 8th, 2015 0:20

      The programme I have mention Haydn, also highlighted other issues related to health and this of modern western living standards where people are educated into having a zero tolerance towards bacteria and microbes, and everything is centered of hygiene where the individual and the house they reside in has to be, literally, germ-free.

      Scientists believe we have lost as much as 30% of the microbes within our body due to years and years of being obsessed with hygiene, personal hygiene and the man-made environment we have surround ourselves in. It is believed that out of the 30% of the microbes we have lost, a large percentage of this has been related to our immune systems (inside and outside the body). Whether this has had an affect in terms of the number of illnesses reported these days does seem to direct to the way we have lived our lives over decades of eradicating bacteria, microbes and other forms of life related to our body or our bodily defenses.

      As the programme highlighted, we, as human beings, have never been more ill than we are today.

      • iantinkler

        • September 8th, 2015 8:38

        For Goodness sake David Spence, stop talking such utter jibber. we in the Western World are healthier than ever befor. We are living far, far longer than our ancestors, most bacterial and viral diseases and mass killers are conquered. Our biggest causes of premature death are the diseases of gluttony. Yes in spite of the endless predictions of the gloom lunies, we are actually healthier than any time in human history, possibly with the exception of when we were hunter gatherers, however usually we would be dead then by thirty, we were then a prey species!! Even third world populations such as Africa are healthier than ever befor. Population of Africa predicted to double by 2050. Lets just hope we can double our food sources, otherwise mass starvation will be imminent. Perhaps the most sensible overseas aid should be of the contraceptive type.!!! Now that should rattle a few cages.

  • iantinkler

    • September 7th, 2015 19:39

    Please do not be sidetracked by the ramblings above . Suicide on Shetland, especially amongst the young, sadly is a very real problem. Most will know of someone whom we have lost this way. Truly read and understand the article, I have lost family and friends this way, most of us have!!. When someone says, “I am fine”, when you know they are not, do something, anything, but do not let it go. literally, their life could be down to you and what you do, nothing is not an option.

  • David Spence

    • September 8th, 2015 9:42

    Ian, I am not belittling the issue of suicide, I am merely commenting on the state of health scientists are predicting as a consequence of years and years of fighting bacteria and microbes related to our bodies, immune systems and how this is affected by the manner to which we are born (natural or Cesarean Section) and the lack of women breastfeeding their babies. There is also, although not conclusive as yet because research is still taking place, a connection between our lack of our biological defenses to this of psychological illnesses. As said though, this research is stlll being carried out, but there does seem to be a connection between our immune systems and this of psychological illnesses.

    I have also lost a close friend due to suicide. Whether social, personal, social environment or economic or even biological causes to why people wish to end their life, I am sure all the medical research which can be done to prevent or reduce suicide must be acknowledged, as I am sure you would agree?

  • iantinkler

    • September 8th, 2015 12:02

    A little information for you David. Most of the world, including the West has just as many bugs around as before, mostly utterly harmless. Over sanitisation of some children just may result in a somewhat over active immune response. Hay fever eczema and the like. Not exactly life threatening for the vast majority, certainly not any link remotely indicating clinical depression. Our biological defenses are vastly enhanced, it is due to vaccination, literally thousand alive today due to the elimination of Smallpox, TB etc. It is only the loony flat earthers who claim otherwise, sadly plenty of those pseudo scientist and ignorant gloom nuts around.

  • David Spence

    • September 8th, 2015 12:14

    I take your point, Ian. However, as I am sure you would agree, every possible avenue must be looked at in the effort to reduce the causes of suicide. The fact that the nature in which a woman gives birth, and this of, potentially, having an affect of the child’s health later in life, should also be taken into account.

    Based on the documentary ‘ Microbirth ‘, it seems probable the method to which you are born does have some baring as to how you may contract certain physical illnesses, which could transgress into a psychological illness. As said though, research into this is still in its early days, but there does seem to be a connection between the way you were born to this of potentially contracting an illness later in life.

  • Haydn Gear

    • September 8th, 2015 13:41

    David. , just a few further thoughts which may be of interest. (setting aside the subversive views of IT ) may I suggest that you take a look at King George111 ,Mary Queen of Scots and porphiria which is a disease related to the heavy metal called arsenic? This was one of the points of focus I made during my rather late in the day chemistry studies and which seems to cause IT so much discomfort. Poor dab , as English speakers in Wales say of sad specimens !! HG

    • iantinkler

      • September 8th, 2015 16:26

      Poor Haydn, sadly wrong again. Porphyria refers to a group of disorders that result from a build up of natural chemicals that produce porphyrin in your body, a rare hereditary disease. It has nothing to do with arsenic poisoning. Poor King George had his Porphyria treated with antimony laced with arsenic. Just what relevance that has here is beyond me. Now, try a bit harder, Mr H Gear BSc? MSc?, I would stick with art if I were you. I think here on Shetland the word “sad” would well describe your medical ignorance.

  • paul barlow

    • September 8th, 2015 18:12

    your taking an important subject and smothering it in waffle. mental illness will affect everyone’s family in someway. you simply cant understate how serious it is. living as we do on these northern isles we are prone to more depressive illnesses than our fellow countrymen. the stigma needs to be removed from mental illness. your not weak or a lesser person because your suffering. seek assistance you can be treated and you can be happy again. we loose to many folks to suicide in Shetland its not a statistic blip due to our size. its a fact. we need better care and better understanding. i am sick of the runaround a person needs to do to receive assistance. no matter what role you hold whether professional or just a family member if a person says they are depressed or want to die please believe them.

  • Haydn Gear

    • September 8th, 2015 19:36

    Mr Tinkler’s supposed range and depth of illusory knowledge probably fools nobody.Sadly, he lacks the skills required to use well tempered language. He even cautiously implies I am a liar. Dangerous ground. It has been suggested that a lock of hair from George III contained an abnormally high level of arsenic (in the Lancet) which probably aggravated his hereditary disease called Porphyria. How that can be misconstrued by IT escapes me. Clearly, he’s looking for reasons to contradict. Pathetic. On the matter of people having never been fitter, medical skills are truly amazing. Being a triple heart by-pass survivor, I can vouch for that! Finally, strains of TB (for one) have a nasty habit of mutating.Many antibiotics are no longer effective.This news does not come from a “flat earther” or a “veggie nut” but from the best brains in the business. I think false optimists like IT can be left out of this particular equation.The world is not as safe as he would stupidly like to believe.

  • Haydn Gear

    • September 8th, 2015 23:02

    Paul Barlow’s plea from the heart is a matter which needs and deserves to be given urgent attention. It is a well known fact that some people who lead relatively lonely lives often succumb to a condition which saps their physical and mental strength.This is amply illustrated by the existence of groups whose primary task is to visit elderly people, make a cup of tea and have a chat. If none of this happens, what’s the point of anything? In Wales, lonely farmers were vulnerable and the police would give them a visit to talk, admire their handiwork and generally make them feel they were not forgotten people out “in the sticks” with nobody bothering whether they lived or died.Paul is spot on in saying that there are people in the Isles who deserve and need a better crack of the whip.It doesn’t matter when you are quietly alone in your grave but there’s no need for practice when you are still alive, warm and breathing.

  • Haydn Gear

    • September 9th, 2015 11:17

    Having just re read my response to Paul Barlow’s letter, I am now wondering how far reaching are the comments about all and sundry which appear in these columns.Many letters are little more than egocentric battles of limited importance. On the other hand the issue raised by Paul is VERY important and should be treated accordingly. If he reads this, I’d like him to know that his plea has not simply evaporated into the ether. The people of Shetland make enough fuss about political matters, gas terminals, fish and chips shops etc etc so isn’t it about time that letters such as Paul Barlow’s ceased to be necessary?

    • John Tulloch

      • September 9th, 2015 11:48

      Someone very influential once said “Physician, heal thyself.”


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