World Suicide Prevention Day to be marked with series of events across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

hoose Life, has announced a programme of events in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire around World Suicide Prevention Day, which is on Sunday 10th September.

As part of the events aimed at raising awareness of suicide prevention, a panel discussion, chaired by BBC Scotland reporter and broadcaster Fiona Stalker, will be broadcast live on the Prevent Suicide North East Scotland Facebook page at 7pm on Sunday 3rd September.

People will be asked to submit questions via social media both prior to and during the discussion.

The panel will include Aberdeen North MP, Kirsty Blackman, who recently spoke publically about her own experiences with depression and mental health. Iain Murray, Choose Life Co-ordinator for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as well as representatives from Police Scotland and Samaritans will also be there to give their views.

World Suicide Prevention Day will be marked by an Act of Remembrance conducted by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Barney Crockett, in the Town House in Aberdeen at 2pm.

On Saturday 16th September there will be the annual tree planting ceremony to remember those lost to suicide. Haughton Country Park in Alford has been chosen as the location for this year’s ceremony. Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson will conduct the ceremony starting at 1pm.

Alongside the tree will be a granite stone mounted on a plinth with “Choose Life – to remember those lost to suicide” written on it. This has been donated by A&J Robertson Granite Merchants in Aberdeen.

Both the Act of Remembrance and the tree planting ceremony are open to the public with friends and family of those lost to suicide particularly welcome.

Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett said: “Aberdeen City Council is proud to once again host this annual Act of Remembrance for families and friends of people lost to suicide. It provides people with the chance to come together with others who have shared the same sudden loss and to remember loved ones who are still very much in their thoughts. Talking about the issue of suicide is the first step to understanding and coming to terms with the loss, and for many people this is the most difficult step.”

Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson said: “Suicide devastates families and communities leaving people with so many unanswered questions. The feeling of loss and helplessness leaves a lasting impact. The tree planting ceremony, which takes place in a different community each year, allows us to remember those lost to suicide across the north east. I hope it is also a comfort and support to friends and family members who have lost a loved one.”

Conversation Café’s will take place on a northbound and a southbound train out of Aberdeen on Friday 8th September. There will also be volunteers at Aberdeen, Stonehaven and Inverurie railway stations to chat about mental health issues with members of the public. This will involve many organisations including ScotRail, Samaritans, Penumbra, Police Scotland, Aberdeen Foyer, the Scottish Association for Mental Health, British Transport Police, the Railway Mission, the Local Authority’s and Choose Life.

Six officers from Police Scotland will be available in Aberdeen to speak with members of the public and visit nearby shops and restaurants.  Officers will also be at train stations in Stonehaven and Inverurie.

On Saturday 9th September, Choose Life will be at Peterhead V Montrose match to distribute suicide prevention material to supporters and staff.

In addition a number of suicide alertness training course will be delivered throughout the week leading up to World Suicide Prevention Day

Iain Murray Choose Life Co-ordinator for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire said: “The recent decline in suicides in the north east has been welcome but we still have a long way to go. The events around Suicide Prevention Day aim to get across the message that help is at hand for people who are at their lowest point."