News, opinion and expertise Mental Health 'Reducing suicide is all about connection' Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, DHC's Lisa Archibald considers the theme of 'Creating Hope Through Action,' and its significance for the Families Voices Forum... This year’s theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’. It signals a change to our families in the discussions about suicide, a positive one that will run for the next three years. In the 17 years that the Forum has been working to improve outcomes for those feeling suicidal and their families, carers and friends, there has been lots of talking. Lots of sharing of traumatic experiences. Lots of challenging long held beliefs. All in the hope that things will change for the better. And some things have changed for the better. We now feel a welcome change to be able to talk about suicide more openly and honestly without the fear that once led policy and practice in this area. We see a new generation of politicians, many now with their own lived experience of suicide, lead the political drive to reduce deaths in their communities. We have forged strong working relationships with statutory agencies that are listening and responding to the voices of the bereaved, who are the only people to have survived the whole complex journey of suicide. "We see a new generation, many with their own lived experience of suicide, leading the political drive to reduce deaths" It’s so important people really listen. That they just stop talking, stop trying to solve the problem you present and just listen deeply before taking action. It’s the same need that’s there when someone is suicidal. It’s the same need that’s there when we’re struggling. It’s our basic human need to be heard. Now, we as a group feel heard and so this year’s drive to Create Hope Through Action signals a next step to be taken. We already have participated in work that has contributed to better information, better training, more responsive services, backed by policy with meaning and substance. Yet there is so much left to do. It’s more than one group can do alone. It’s more than one government can achieve. It’s more than one service can deliver. It will take a community, many communities of ordinary people to participate. Reducing suicide is all about connection. Connection to life. Connections to loved ones. Connections to support. Connections to yourself and who you really are, a valuable and worthwhile human being with a place in this world. Our call for action is for everyone out there to give yourself time. Time to notice what’s going on with you, your family and your friends. Time to reach out and start a conversation if you notice something seems ‘off’. Time to find out what help is out there for you and others – there’s so much more than you think! “Every action can connect someone to life and the help they want. To prevent suicide requires us to become a beacon of light to those in pain” International Association for Suicide Prevention, 2021 Please watch this video ‘Step Closer’. Reaching out to prevent suicide is not as hard as you might think and can begin with just a smile.