The issue is being highlighted ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, which is running on Sunday, September 10 under the theme ‘Take a minute, change a life’.
Every year, an average of 77 people in East Sussex take their own life, three quarters of whom are men, with those men aged between 30 and 59 at greatest risk.
East Sussex County Council has commissioned local suicide prevention charity Grassroots to run the project, which includes free suicide prevention training to businesses and organisations which come into regular contact with men who may be in distress.
So far, courses have been offered to bars, bus companies, sports coaches and tattooists by the charity, which also set up and runs the award-winning Stay Alive suicide prevention app.
Stella Comber, Grassroots chief executive, said: “Every suicide is a tragedy – for the person concerned and for those they leave behind, but it is preventable if people can be encouraged to talk openly and frankly and to work together to end the taboo around this issue.”
Gemma Gambrill works at Eastbourne-based Holy Cow Tattoo, a business that has already taken up the offer of free training.
She said: “Asking someone if they’re thinking about suicide is not an easy question to ask, but it’s better to ask and potentially be able to help than to be left thinking ‘I could have helped’.
“It’s just one conversation that could help free someone from what they feel is a life sentence with no other option.”
The Stay Alive app, available in the Apple App Store or Google Play, includes resources such as quick access to support helplines, suicide myth-busting and advice on how to protect yourself, or someone you know, from suicide.
A free counselling service is also available in East Sussex to those affected by suicide, including those feeling suicidal, those who have attempted to take their own life or those bereaved.
More information about the service, run by the Sussex Community Development Association and funded by the county council, is available by calling 01273 519108 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone interested in taking up the offer of free suicide prevention training is asked to contact Greg Burgess from Grassroots by emailing email@example.com
People who are feeling suicidal or who have been affected by suicide can get 24-hour support by calling the Samaritans on 116 123.