A mental health campaigner has warned of the lasting effects of suicide on communities as Perth and Kinross hold a series of events to mark Suicide Awareness Week.
Susan Scott, Development Manager of PLUS Perth, spoke of the devastating impact of suicide after two members of the organisation took their own lives in recent years.
Susan said: “It’s so hard when someone suddenly dies and they’re gone and the impact that has on the people that are left – that can’t be underestimated.
“As an organisation we have lost friends to suicide and we’re still hurting about it.
“It lasts a long time and there has to be a lot more thought put in for the relatives who are left behind because they bear a lot of the pain and the guilt because they think ‘what could I have done?’
“It can go on for years and that has an effect on people’s mental health. As an organisation we have been devastated and that can have a ripple effect, we’re still reeling from the deaths.
“Prevention is a big part of it. When there has been two or three people in close proximity, like in Bridgend in Wales, there is definitely effects that we need to be mindful of and we really need to look after the people that are left.”
On Monday, PLUS Perth and Kinross hosted a meeting, the Afternoon of Togetherness, allowing people to spend time with others who have lost someone to suicide.
The group works to improve the lives of people in the area who have experienced mental distress.
It also promotes better public attitudes and providing information regarding mental health and wellbeing.
For those who attended the Afternoon of Togetherness, working collectively to reach their common goal is highly important.
During their discussions, one member said: “As an individual, there is only so much you can do.”
September 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day.
Starting in 2003, the day is now held annually to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides.
Perth and Kinross Council Health and Social Care Partnership is also holding a series of events throughout the week, from September 9 to 15.
Events this year will include film screenings of Evelyn, a documentary about a family bereaved by suicide.
A council spokesperson said: “Suicide can affect anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, culture or previous mental health.
“It is vital to know how to offer an understanding ear and when to encourage people to go to for further help and support.”
Tickets to all events can be booked through Eventbrite.
Anyone who needs support can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.