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LEICESTER SPORTS COMMENTATOR SHARES SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AHEAD OF PREVENTION DAY

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A BBC Radio Leicester sports commentator has opened up about a ‘life saving’ app, which helped him overcome a bad period period of mental health, ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Ian Stringer has discussed his experience of using the ‘Stay Alive’ app, which is recommended by the NHS for those experiencing suicidal thoughts or those concerned about loved ones who are thinking about suicide.

Picture: Ian Stringer – prevent-suicide.org.uk

In an online video, he talks about how the app’s features help to organise his thoughts, clear his head and give him solid, accessible lists of activities he enjoys, friends and family he can call and photos he can look at, to help him out of dark periods of mental health.

‘Stay Alive’ has been downloaded over 500,000 times since its release by people with suicidal thoughts and people worried about others.

“The Stay Alive app is a life saver. This is not just a turn of phrase, but it actually saves lives of those who have thoughts of suicide,” he said.

“I was recommended the app by the mental health crisis team, who came and saw me one day when I was probably at the lowest I’ve been.

“What convinced me to look at it, was the crisis team nurse who said, “it’s saved lives”. I thought how can an app save lives? So I checked it out and the functionality was and is really simple. It’s just a place you can go to if your head just gets muddled, and anxiety, depression, low mood set in, and you go beyond a point of thinking straight and thinking logically,” he explained

The app has features including a ‘LifeBox’, where users can store life-affirming photos and images, which they can look at when they’re experiencing thoughts of suicide.

It also features a mini-safety plan generator, life saving tips, and quick access to national crisis support helplines, as well as some local resources.

“I don’t open the app very often now at all, which hopefully means I’m improving slowly,” revealed Mr Stringer.

“But if you get to that ‘head loss’ stage and you open it, there can be a picture of your family, or your friends, which I’ve got, and you can look at it and think ‘yeah, that’s my why’.

“It helps. I would advise people to put it on their home screens – their phones, and if you do get to a point where it gets bad, you get into the pit and really do lose your head, you’ve already programmed it,” he advised.

“When you’re feeling good and positive, then go into the app and put the pictures that you want that mean a lot, and the actions that help you.”

World Suicide Prevention Day 2022 is taking place this Saturday, September 10.

Suicide is currently the biggest killer of young people, both male and female, aged under 35 years in the UK. However, professionals say that it can be prevented, and that more needs to be done to erode the stigma surrounding it.

“When my 16-year-old son, David died by suicide, my life changed forever, I entered an abyss of grief.  My broken heart will never heal,”said Dr Lisa Edwards, a bereaved parent and Grassroots Suicide Prevention trustee.

“Yet, suicide can be prevented but we still do not talk about it openly.  Talking about suicide not only reduces the stigma, but also allows individuals to seek help, rethink their options. We know that having the right conversation with someone if they’re suicidal can protect them.”

To find out more, visit: https://prevent-suicide.org.uk/wspd-2022/

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