Media Release: Football tournament ‘kicks off’ World Suicide Prevention Week 2014

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THE suicide of the much-loved actor Robin Williams highlighted how suicide can affect anyone and how it is something we all need to be aware of with regards to our family, friends and colleagues.

Sport can have a positive impact on a person’s mental health and wellbeing and World Suicide Prevention Week, which runs from 7 to 13 September, will be launched on Saturday 6 September with an exciting five-a-side football tournament, The Choose Life Challenge Cup.

The tournament will run from 9.30am until 12.30pm at the Gracemount Leisure Centre, 22 Gracemount Drive, Edinburgh, EH16 6RN.

Sixteen teams from Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian and Dundee are taking part and, for the first time, two ladies teams from Edinburgh have signed up.

Scottish Government Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, will be there to present the trophy and other prizes.

Event organiser, John Murphy is a project worker with Scottish charity, Health in Mind, and he believes the Choose Life Challenge Cup is a fantastic event as it offers a comfortable space for guys to get together, reduces isolation and promotes a sense of belonging.

John continued: “So many young men find it hard to talk about their feelings and in 2013, there were 795 suicides recorded in Scotland, with the rate for men more than three times that of women.”

John highlighted how the event provides a great opportunity for people to find out about the issues and the services available locally.

He continued: “If there’s someone you know who you think might be considering suicide; ask them and be willing to listen and encourage them to get help – you could help save their life.

“Alternatively, if you are feeling suicidal, don’t hide it; find someone you trust and talk to them.”

The Choose Life Campaign is part of the national strategy and action plan to prevent suicide in Scotland.

The partners in the Choose Life Challenge Cup – Lothian Five-a-Side Football Tournament are: NHS Lothian, East Lothian Council, The City of Edinburgh Council, Midlothian and West Lothian Councils.

To find out more, contact John Murphy on 0131 663 1616.


For further information contact Doreen Graham, Health in Mind communications manager Tel: 0131 243 0137 or

Notes for Editors

Summary of commitments from the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Strategy 2013-2016

The strategy sets out the actions the Scottish Government will take to prevent and reduce suicide in Scotland. It outlines our progress and identifies areas for further attention.

Experience and research tell us that we need to act in a number of areas in order to reduce suicide and deliver better outcomes for people contemplating suicide. The strategy seeks to improve our engagement with people in distress, to change the way we talk about suicide in Scotland, and to support improvements in how the NHS responds to people who are suicidal.

Commitment 1: We will take forward further work on self-harm as part of the publication of a document on responding to people in distress. This work will take into account feedback from the public engagement process which helped inform the development of this strategy, the current work in Tayside in relation to Commitment 19 of the Mental Health Strategy and the Scottish Government’s report Responding to Self-Harm in Scotland: Final Report.

Commitment 2: NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland will work together to develop and extend the current approach of workforce development activity to address a wider range of experience and in a wider range of contexts. In doing so we will consider how this support can be made available to families and communities. This work will also be linked to the work under Commitment 1 on distress.

Commitment 3: We will map existing arrangements for responding to people in distress in different environments and localities and will use this information to develop guidance which supports safety and person-centredness.

Commitment 4: For those presenting to A&E we will examine how existing local and national data sources, such as the Scottish Patients at Risk of Readmission and Admission (SPARRA), can be used to provide benefit to those at risk of suicide. We will also support improvement programmes that are aimed at linking available data sources to inform service responses for those at risk of suicide or repeat attendance, such as currently exist in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and in Tayside.

Commitment 5: We will work closely with NHS Health Scotland, see me and other agencies to develop and implement an engagement strategy to influence public perception about suicide and the stigma surrounding it and will use social media, in addition to other communication channels, to communicate key messages about suicide and its prevention.

Commitment 6: We will work with Healthcare Improvement Scotland to support improvements for NHS Boards that focus on areas of practice which will make mental health services safer for people at risk of suicide, for example, transitions of care, risk management, observation implementation and medicines management. This will be delivered through the SRLS and SPSP-MH.

Commitment 7: We will work with the Royal College of General Practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to develop approaches to ensure more regular review of those on long-term drug treatment for mental illness, to ensure that patients receive the safest and most appropriate treatment.

Commitment 8: We will build on work already done in relation to Commitment 22 of the Mental Health Strategy to test ways of improving the detection and treatment of depression and anxiety in people with other long-term conditions.

Commitment 9: We will continue to fund the work of ScotSID and the Scottish element of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide and we will also contribute to developing the national and international evidence base. In doing so we will work with statutory, voluntary sector and academic partners.

Commitment 10: NHS Health Scotland will continue to host the Choose Life National Programme for Suicide Prevention. This National Programme, in addition to the functions set out above, will continue to provide leadership and direction for local Choose Life co-ordinators and in respect of other health improvement aspects of suicide prevention.

Commitment 11: We will set up arrangements to monitor progress with implementation of all the commitments in this strategy. This will include an Implementation Board to be chaired by a Senior Manager from the Scottish Government.

Health in Mind

Health in Mind promotes positive mental health and wellbeing in Scotland.

Whether someone uses our services, volunteers, works with us or participates in our training, we want them to benefit from the knowledge and experience which we bring to our work.

Many of our services have been developed in direct response to demand from people who felt that their needs weren’t being met – that often meant undertaking research to understand the concerns; telling people about the issues and developing practical solutions. Our work with BME groups, childhood sexual abuse and information provision all came about in this way.

Health in Mind also provides support, respite and befriending services, as well as day services and counselling/talking therapies – both face to face and on the telephone. So when someone buys into our services, they are also able to access a wealth of understanding and skill around mental health and wellbeing.

MEDIA RELEASE issued by Health in Mind. You too can post your story ideas for journalists (aka Press or media releases), on Email for more information.

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Contact: Doreen Graham
Phone: 07709999953