We have joined forces with Leeds City Council as part of a campaign to encourage people to check-in with their mates and help normalise conversations around mental health and suicide, particularly among young men.
The two organisations are promoting the West Yorkshire ‘Check in with your mate’ campaign across Leeds to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September.
The campaign promotes three simple messages:
· Reach out – think of a mate you haven’t spoken to for a while and call or message them.
· Check in – talk to your mate. Ask them how they are, what’s new and how they are feeling.
· Follow up – keep in touch. If your mate is feeling down, tell them about the Check In with your mate website
Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council executive member for adult social care, public health and active lifestyles said:
“By encouraging more conversations around how someone is feeling and their mental health, particularly among men, we can all break the stigma around suicide and help people have those conversations that could potentially save lives.
“Simply checking in, being there and listening, will help someone who might otherwise be struggling alone.
“If you’re not sure how to have that conversation, or worried you might say the wrong thing, there is free advice available to help you on the Check in with Your Mate website.”
Ben Berry, Project and Partnerships Manager at Leeds Rhinos Foundation, said:
“We are delighted to support the Check in with Your Mate Campaign to help break down barriers in talking about mental health and suicide. Open conversations are vital in getting support, supporting others and reducing stigma.
“In addition, our free Offload courses offer a safe environment for people to explore their mental health. We encourage everyone to find out more information below on how the programme can support your mental health fitness.”
Rob Webster CBE, CEO for NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and CEO Lead for WY HCP, said:
“It is vitally important that we keep conversations open around mental health and suicide. Suicide is preventable – it is not inevitable – and creating an environment where people feel able to talk could prove lifesaving.
“That is the key message of this campaign and it’s great to have the support of Leeds City Council and Leeds Rhinos Foundation in promoting this throughout September. “This year we are also encouraging everyone to sign up to become a Suicide Prevention Champion, to learn how to tackle stigma and signpost to support. By working together, we can help save lives and bring the suicide rate down across West Yorkshire.”
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) continues to show that West Yorkshire has higher suicide rates compared to rates for England as a whole, with significantly more men taking their own lives than women.
In response to this, in May 2022 the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership launched the Check-in With Your Mate campaign aimed at inspiring people to start conversations about mental health with men and give practical help to people. The campaign uses www.checkinwithyourmate.co.uk which directs people to the ‘support in your area’ section of the Partnership’s suicide prevention website. There is also an on-line Zero Suicide Alliance training to help people have conversations about mental health and suicide and a range of advice about local support.
The Leeds Rhinos Foundation works with Rugby League Cares to deliver a free 6-week mental health fitness programme – Offload. People team up with current and past players and see how they deal with challenges on and off the pitch and build their mental fitness at Headingley Stadium.
To find out more about the Offload programme, CLICK HERE.