Ayrshire College is talking about The S Word
Ayrshire College has marked World Suicide Prevention Day (Friday 10 September) by rolling out a new suicide prevention project called 'The S Word'.
The S Word is a campaign that will support an ongoing ambition to promote positive mental health messages, and internal support services, for students who find themselves feeling mentally vulnerable during their studies.
The S Word campaign involves messages on suicide prevention and awareness that will resonate with all students, but many key messages will be targeted specifically at the male student population.
In 2019, there were 833 suicides registered in Scotland, with 74% of these being men.
An online document has been put together with key messages and facts on suicide, which can be viewed at www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/about-us/wellbeing.
As well as operating an Ayrshire College Counselling Service for its students, Ayrshire College employs a Mental Health Liaison Officer in partnership with the Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnerships.
Michelle Morton took up the position in April 2021 and has been instrumental in launching The S Word campaign, alongside Ayrshire College’s Equality and Inclusion Advisor, Sara Turkington.
Michelle spoke to Sara in the latest episode of the Ayrshire College-affiliated podcast Rockpool Podcasts to reveal more details about this important campaign.
Michelle said: "Primarily it's a campaign based on recognising how prevalent suicide is within our own communities. Suicide prevention is something I'm very passionate about.
"The most important thing is to normalise the conversation of suicide. Be a friend and if you notice changes in your friend's behaviour, don't be afraid to ask the question 'are you suicidal?'. Particularly males, as the suicide rate for males is three times as high as females nationally and locally. These are some of the messages that the S word campaign is promoting.
"A big part of it is to say, 'it's okay to not feel alright'. The support is there, the support within the college is confidential so please don't ever be afraid to reach out to anybody within the college if you're struggling with your mental health."
Ayrshire College has established a Promoting Wellbeing Group whose aim is to lead, develop, implement and review an action plan that represents a whole-college approach to mental health and wellbeing issues.
You can find more details on the Promoting Wellbeing Group and contribute your thoughts for the 2021-2024 action plan at www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/about-us/wellbeing.
13 September 2021