World Suicide Prevention Day: It’s OK To Say and Hector’s House join forces to raise awareness

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 September 2020

Stacey Turner of It's OK To Say and Lottie Stringer of Hector's House.

Stacey Turner of It's OK To Say and Lottie Stringer of Hector's House.

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Stacey Turner, founder of mental health awareness charity It’s OK To Say, and Lottie Stringer, chief executive of Hector’s House, which has a similar remit, have joined forces on World Suicide Prevention Day to highlight the help available to prevent suicide.

As I sit in the waiting room of my osteopath clinic waiting for my treatment, the sun-lit window ledge draws my attention, putting the spotlight on an issue of Cosmopolitan dated August 2018. I immediately recognise the beautiful lady smiling out from the page, it is Caroline Flack.

Caroline Flack was a TV presenter for shows such as I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! The Xtra Factor and Love Island. In this edition of the magazine, Caroline writes letters to the men she’s loved, lost and found. The feature begins with “Dear LOVE” and ends with “Dear Husband-To-Be” where friendship is the key.

Within the article, Caroline writes “Dear Big Heartbreak” where she ponders ‘Can you die from heartbreak?’ Sadly, yes you can – Caroline Flack tragically died of suicide on February 15, aged just 40.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, which aims to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented. It is always on September 10 because more than 6,800 people in the UK and Irish Republic died of suicide on this day in 2018. Every single life lost is an absolute tragedy.

Stacey said: “Suicide is a serious public health issue with more help needed from the government. It’s a catastrophic calling for someone vulnerable where they cannot see any other way or past the storm, where there’s no self-love.

“Suicide has been a pressing concern throughout coronavirus and continues to be as we emerge with uncertainty. It’s an urgent crisis requiring special attention. The adverse effects of the pandemic on mental health on the population in general might be exacerbated by fear, self-isolation and physical distancing. Suicide risk is concerning.”

In 2019, Herts-based suicide prevention charity, Hector’s House and It’s OK To Say met to establish a collaboration to support the community. Hector Stringer - a fun-loving, talented and popular 18-year-old - took his own life in 2011. The Stringer family set up Hector’s House in his memory as a signposting and mental health awareness charity, and they are urging everyone in the area to join their mission to stop suicide.

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Lotte Stringer, Hector’s sister and the charity’s chief executive, said: “From someone who has lost someone to suicide, it’s really important that you know, we see you, you’re enough and you matter. We’re so glad you’re here, hold on, there is always hope. Any step you make to talk about your mental health is a fantastic, brave and important step to your recovery.”

Stacey continued: “I echo Lotte’s words; I lost my father to suicide at the age of 13 and we need to acknowledge the crisis that is people see suicide as an option. It’s not an option, we love you and don’t want to lose you. YOUR life matters. It’s important to know there’s faith and that comes in many forms.”

World Suicide Prevention Day is poignant for both charities, which work tirelessly to promote seeking help options, rejecting the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide.

Stacey added: “We want to keep people away from the cliff edge of suicidal thoughts, promoting a healthy everyday with the knowledge that It’s OK To Say, no matter what it is. You don’t need to have a mental health concern to reach out, talking about things is essential to a healthy mind, it is simply OK To Say.”

Today, we reach out and urge anyone feeling consumed with suicidal thoughts to seek help.

“Time wears down the jags of pain and heartbreak.” – Caroline Flack 2018.

For help text HECTOR on 85258, call Samaritans on 116 123, or for uor under 35s, call Papyrus’ HOPELINE on 0800 068 4141.

You can find a wealth of support for any age here: http://www.itsoktosay.org.uk/im-concerned/

Stacey said: “If you offer a support service for our community, then I’d like to publicise it.” Please email support@itsoktosay.org.uk


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