Revellers at the long-awaited return of Leeds Pride this weekend will be getting a timely reminder to ‘check in with their mates’ as part of an ongoing West Yorkshire-wide suicide prevention campaign.
Featuring on the giant screens at this Sunday’s parade will be a special Pride-themed graphic for the ground-breaking ‘Check In With Your Mate’ campaign, launched in May by West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership’s (WYHCP) Suicide Prevention Programme to encourage the normalising of conversations around suicide and mental health among men.
Carrying the message to ‘Check in with a mate and feel proud’, and with added rainbow colours of the Pride flag, the striking image also features a QR code which links to the ‘support in your area’ section of the Partnership’s Suicide Prevention website.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that suicide is more common in West Yorkshire than in England as a whole – with significantly more men taking their own lives than women.
It has been consistently reported that in the UK, LGBTQ+ people may experience mental health problems at disproportionate rates compared to the general population and research last year found young LGBT+ people were three times more likely to self-harm and twice as likely to contemplate suicide as their non-LGBT+ peers.
Jess Parker, project manager for WYHCP’s Suicide Prevention Programme, said: “Being able to showcase our graphic on the big screen at Leeds Pride is great boost for our campaign and vital in continuing to raise awareness of the importance of talking and checking in on the people in our lives.
“We hope it is seen by all who join the celebrations on Sunday as it’s really important the message reaches communities who traditionally may have felt excluded from mental health services or faced discrimination in their lives.”
The Pride-themed graphic follows the same style as the set of poignant downloadable images which were created for the potentially life-saving Check In With Your Mate campaign, for use as social media posts, website banners and posters, encouraging all to help spread the word.
Developed by and featuring local men, from their experiences, messages on the graphics include: ‘Is your sporty mate suddenly off his game?’, ‘Does your mate always want to have one too many?’, ‘Has your mate left service but he’s still fighting?’.
Since the campaign’s launch on 16 May, figures have shown that the first month alone saw 4,023 visit the ‘support in your area’ section of the WYHCP’s suicide prevention website via checkinwithyourmate.co.uk.
The same four-week period saw 860 posts on social media using the hashtag #CheckinWYM, reaching a total audience of 1.6 million people.
Jess added: “It’s great that people have been getting behind Check In With Your Mate.
“Campaigns like this are really important and continue our work to make suicide everyone’s business.
“We all have part to play in helping to prevent suicide rates from rising by increasing awareness, breaking the stigma and talking to each other about mental health and suicide.”
To view and download the Check In With Your Mate campaign resources, visit www.staffcheck-in.co.uk/males.
For more information on suicide prevention in West Yorkshire, including where and how to access support, visit https://suicidepreventionwestyorkshire.co.uk/.