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Dawn encourages Scarborough companies to offer suicide prevention training to staff

By 25th August 2020No Comments

A Scarborough woman who lost her brother to suicide five years ago is encouraging businesses in the town to offer suicide prevention training to staff, as part of a region-wide campaign led by local NHS and council organisations.

The #TalkSuicide campaign encourages people to complete a FREE 20-minute suicide prevention training programme, which is available at Businesses are also encouraged to offer the training to their staff and can access support and resources at

People who complete the training are taught how to:

  • Identify the signs of when someone might be suffering from suicidal thoughts.
  • Feel comfortable speaking out about suicide in a supportive manner. 
  • Signpost anyone suffering to the correct services and support. 

The campaign is led by the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership – whose member organisations include Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group, North Yorkshire County Council and York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dawn Cowling, 45, from Scarborough, lost her brother Kevin to suicide in 2015 when he was aged 41. Dawn agreed to appear in this short video to discuss the impact Kevin’s suicide has had on her, in the hope it will encourage anyone struggling with their mental health to seek help.

She said: “For the first six months I couldn’t mention his name without bursting into tears. It was awful because for much of the last five years I thought that how I felt was normal – I was feeling down, I was feeling anxious all the time, I felt low every day. 

“I’m dealing with Kevin’s suicide much better now that I’ve opened up and started talking about it because that is the problem – you don’t tend to talk much about suicide because you think that nobody wants to hear about it.”

Dawn is also urging employers in the Scarborough and Ryedale area to offer training to staff to help prevent suicides from happening in our local communities.

She said: “Every business should offer the suicide prevention training to their staff. You could be working with someone for 10 years but you don’t know what’s going on inside their head. It could be just one comment from a colleague that indicates they’re struggling, but unless you have done the training you might not pick up on it.

“It’s vital that businesses encourage their staff to do the training as it could help to save somebody’s life. It’s a great thing to do and I think everybody should be more aware about how they can help other people.”

There were 6,507 registered suicides in the UK in 2018 – which amounts to one death by suicide every 80 minutes. Yorkshire and Humber had some of the highest rates of suicide in England in 2018. One in six employees will experience depression, anxiety or unmanageable stress in the workplace.

Jo Kent, Suicide Prevention Lead for the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, said: “I want to thank Dawn for sharing her story, which we hope will encourage businesses in the Scarborough and Ryedale area to offer suicide prevention training to their staff. In Humber, Coast and Vale we are working collaboratively with a number of organisations, including local businesses, to prevent suicides from happening in our communities.

“The suicide prevention training is integral to this work as those who complete the training can make a real difference in their communities, simply by being better placed to identify those people who might be suffering from suicidal thoughts, knowing what to say to them in these circumstances, and signposting them to the most appropriate services.”

Are you an employer wanting to offer suicide prevention training to your staff? Request your FREE training pack here.

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