Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK, though suicides among teenage girls and young women have almost doubled in recent years. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention – who set up World Suicide Prevention Day – around 800,000 people take their own life somewhere in the world every year, which amounts to an average of one suicide every 40 seconds.
Yet many suicides are preventable with access to proper support. In Oliver's case, he went to a doctor in January 2017 and said he was feeling anxious, depressed, lost and unsure about the future. He was sent away with a prescription for an antidepressant – and took his life four days later.
Oliver's mother Ann Feloy, chairwoman of Olly’s Future, said: “The grant enables Olly's Future to equip hundreds more medical students with vital skills to talk about suicide to their friends and colleagues, and later on, use this knowledge and understanding in their careers to help patients.”
The first part of the Olly's Future programme featuring 90-minute online suicide prevention training will be delivered to more than 350 medical students at BSMS. There are also aids to self-reflective well-being, plus 'open mic' sessions that allow people to express their feelings in a safe and supportive setting. The charity is ultimately aiming for Dr SAMS to be rolled out to every UK medical school. You can hear Ann Deloy talking about Dr SAMS on Twitter.
Professor Juliet Wright, director of undergraduate teacher and learning at BSMS, said: “The students have benefited enormously from the programme, and the very real and practical support this gives them is its strength. Students leave with a confidence to take the next steps should they need to, and that is such a very valuable skill to have given them.”
Find out more about the support provided by University of Brighton's Mental Health and Wellbeing teams. The Samaritans charity also has a free helpline you can call free on 116 123, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.