Examining the stats on suicide from The Office for National Statistics (2016) it is evident that more people die by suicide at 11am on New Year’s Day than at any other time during the year.
In an act of respect and remembrance and act to pay tribute to all those lost to suicide, at 11am on New Year's Day 2019 all 593 public telephones in Liverpool and St Helens rang in unison.
Organised by theatre and digital art company ZU-UK, the nine-minute interactive audio experience aimed to encourage people to think about our ability to listen in a world that is growing louder every day.
The Liverpool Echo reported the initiative prior to the event:
The project, Pick Me Up (and hold me tight) is being piloted in Liverpool and St Helens as the area has some of the highest suicide rates in the UK.
Persis Jadé Maravala from ZU-UK said: "Pick Me Up (and hold me tight) is an invitation to reconnect with our ability to listen. In our increasingly noisy world, it’s vital we exercise our skills in cutting through that noise to listen to what’s truly important – what connects and unites as human beings."
“Whilst we’re not looking to provide a 'cure' for suicide we want to provide a space where we can all reflect on the importance of listening, because in doing so we may just help someone struggling with loneliness and isolation to want to stay in the world."
Pick Me Up (and hold me tight) has been supported by 303 Crowdfunder backers, MIND in Camden, FACT Liverpool and Suicide Bereavement UK.
Peter Kinderman, Clinical Psychology professor at the University of Liverpool, said: "Between 2015-17, St Helens had a suicide rate of 17.9 suicides per 100,000 population. That was the highest in England and Wales and nearly double the already unacceptable national average of 9.6 suicides per 100,000 people.
"Whilst the reasons that cause any one of us to contemplate suicide are individual and unique, we know that social isolation is a major contributing factor.”
"Projects like Pick Me Up (and hold me tight) are valuable reminders of the importance of listening as a way of compassionately supporting those of us who might be struggling."
Mental Health and Suicide Support
- The NHS Choices website lists the following helplines and support networks for people to talk to.
- Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year on 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you're feeling, or if you're worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at email@example.com
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won't show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity based in England providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
- Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
- Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
Source: Liverpool Echo
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