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BIG-funded project increases awareness and understanding of suicide risks

19 March 2012

Blog post by Sue Barsby, Big Lottery Fund Regional Outreach Officer.


I’m seven months pregnant so it came as a shock to me to discover that one of the groups at highest risk of suicide is working women on maternity leave.

I found this out at a training workshop offered by BIG-funded Leicestershire and Rutland Rural Community Council (RCC), which has been involved in mental health awareness and suicide risk training since the foot-and-mouth crisis in 2001. The crisis highlighted an increase in suicide rates among farmers and agricultural workers and, since then, the RCC has been involved in raising suicide awareness in all walks of life.

I was at the training to find out more about the BIG-funded group-work and one-to-one sessions made available to people whose lives have been impacted by suicide. Many references are made to it in everyday culture and, along with recent high-profile cases in the media, it struck me that I didn’t know enough about what drives someone to take their own life. 

Several facts strike home during the day. The first is that we are likely to see a rise in suicides. The suicide rate goes up during times of high unemployment and, of the young men who commit suicide, two thirds are long-term unemployed. 

The session left me with a lot to think about and, talking to other delegates, we all found it an incredibly valuable exercise in raising awareness and understanding of the risks of suicide. The work of Leicestershire and Rutland RCC can only help to reduce future cases. 

Take a listen to the following Big Lottery Fund podcast with the thoughts of some of those who attended the workshop. 

Having trouble viewing this SoundCloud player? Listen to it here:

To view a transcript of this podcast, please click here.

If you’d like to know more about the project go to

For more information about suicide awareness vist the Mind website.

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