Page last updated at 23:06 GMT, Sunday, 4 April 2010 00:06 UK

Suicide advert to be aired in TV first

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Workers trained in suicide support

The first TV advert to tackle the issue of suicide is to be aired during commercial breaks in Scotland.

About two people a day in Scotland take their own lives and it continues to be a leading cause of death in young people, those behind the campaign said.

The target audience for the government-backed advert is men aged between 18 and 44.

Public health minister Shona Robison said helping people break the silence surrounding suicide was "vital".

She said the campaign aimed to encourage people to talk about the way they are feeling and to seek the help they needed.

The advert features a young man going about his everyday life. A friend notices he is looking a bit withdrawn and asks if he is OK.

Most people contemplating suicide do not want to die, they want to end the pain they are suffering
Shona Robison
Minister for Public Health

The young man starts to choke and his friend performs an abdominal thrust, or Heimlich manoeuvre, on him.

Out of his mouth comes the word "suicidal".

The two men then start a conversation, while the telephone number for the Breathing Space hotline appears on the screen.

It will be shown for the first time during Coronation Street, which is one of TV's most high profile advertising slots.

Viewers will be told they are not alone and there is support available. The campaign is part of a 10-year government strategy in Scotland aimed at reducing suicide levels.

'Really effective'

Ms Robison said: "Helping people to break the silence surrounding suicide is vital - not just for those of us living with that kind of pain but all of us.

"Most people contemplating suicide do not want to die, they want to end the pain they are suffering.

"In many cases suicide can be prevented if people get the right help and support to see a way out of their situation. This campaign aims to encourage people to talk about the way they are feeling and to seek the vital help they need."

The advert is part of a campaign by Choose Life, Scotland's national strategy and action plan to prevent suicide.

Caroline Morrison, from Dundee, whose teenage son committed suicide in 2006, said: "The TV advert is really effective at showing how anyone can take the initiative to speak to someone about suicide.

"I think the advert highlights how a wee bit of support, such as asking a friend in need to come to the pub then asking them if they are alright, could help to save their life."



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SEE ALSO
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'Talk about it' plea over suicide
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