Time to stop the pain

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DEPRESSION is a sickness which affects many people around the country.

It is an illness that goes unnoticed in many and is understood by few.

Although in the majority of cases it can be treated, those suffering from the condition can often feel alone and alienated from those around them.

There are times when people have been known to take their own life rather than reach out for help.

And therein lies the tragedy: someone dying from a preventable condition.

This week is Suicide Prevention Week and the message East Renfrewshire’s City Health Care Partnership is sending out is: “If you can read between the lines, you can save lives”.

The CHCP is asking that people to be more aware of the warning signs of suicide in people close to us.

The message is that if you are worried about someone, such as a friend, family member or workmate, asking them directly about their feelings can help save their lives.

The campaign acknowledges that signs of suicide can be ambiguous, but encourages folk to take all signs of distress seriously, even if the person seems to be living a normal life.

It also aims to assure people that asking a person what’s troubling them can make a positive difference.

Professionals say that it’s important that if you notice when someone close to you isn’t quite themselves, or are aware of any changes in their behaviour that worry you — even if the signs come and go — ask them about it.

And, if it feels right, doctors say you shouldn’t shy away from asking them outright if they are thinking about suicide.

It won’t, they say, put the idea in their head but could help them to confront the situation and admit they need help.

The campaign is targeting men and women who are likely to be in contact with with people most at risk of suicide — men aged 30 to 59.

Statistics show that around three quarters of suicides have been men in every year since 1990.

Thought-provoking posters are being displayed at Barrhead and on the 38, 44 and 66 bus routes in East Renfrewshire.

Social work and health convener councillor Alan Lafferty said: “Suicide can affect anyone and it’s not a subject that should be hidden.

“We can all play a vital role by talking to each other about our problems.

“Talking can help a person get clarity about what it is that’s troubling them, and often gives a sense of perspective.

“Starting a conversation is half the battle.

“You don’t need to have an answer to their problems — just be there for them, try to listen carefully without judging and show you care”.