Shetland firefighters receive suicide awareness training

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Twelve month training programme will cover all 14 stations

Firefighters from Shetland’s 14 fire stations are to receive awareness training for suicide prevention in a year-long training programme delivered by NHS Shetland.
The launch of the training programme will coincide with national Suicide Prevention Awareness Week which runs from 5th-10th September.
Training will initially be given to watch managers at all the island stations before being rolled out to Retained Duty System (RDS) personnel over the next 12 months.
Suicide statistics for Scotland published in August 2016 show that while the overall number of suicides is reducing, Shetland has had the country’s highest male suicide rate over the last five years.
Myles Murray is Group Manager, Service Delivery Shetland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).
He said:  “Having lost people I know to suicide and having spoken to people who have thought of taking their own lives I think it is vitally important that we do whatever is necessary to make our staff aware of the signs that can lead a person to committing suicide.
“Shetland has a male suicide rate higher than the national average.
“We are a small community in Shetland and by working with NHS Shetland we can hopefully raise awareness of the subject among our own staff and others.”
A roadshow promoting the message ‘Stop Saying “I’m Fine” If You’re Not’ will visit venues across Shetland this week.
Karen Smith, NHS Choose Life Coordinator said: “The roadshow aims to raise awareness to everyone to be alert to the warning signs of suicide in people close to them.
“The message is that it’s ok to ‘not be ok’ and that sometimes individuals need to look for help.
“In Shetland, for men in particular, this can be a difficult concept and they don’t often ask for help.
“This is an excellent opportunity for NHS Shetland to work with local fire services to be able to deliver the awareness training.”
GM Murray said: “I’m delighted that the benefit of partner agency working will be cascaded to retained personnel across the islands.
“I Iook forward to working with Karen on this very worthwhile project.”