Suicide Prevention: Innovative Ways to Engage with Young Vulnerable People
One dark and miserable Sunday night, I ventured out to Media City, Salford to be interviewed by Jeannie Owens and Lee Gueller on the ‘Sunday Speak Out’ show on Greater Manchester ‘Unity’ radio station. I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially as I was informed that the listeners were a young audience, predominantly male and lived in an area where many people struggle to cope.
This innovative monthly two hour show focuses on mental health issues and signposting their listeners to key resources. This particular evening they were focussing on suicide and suicide bereavement. How brave is that? Two taboo topics in one show!
The first hour Jeannie and Lee chatted to Chris Jeffries from The Samaritans. I am sat on the sofa, in the studio, watching, nervous, not sure what I was going to say, as I have never been interviewed for an hour on live radio before. As I am watching Chris being interviewed, the producer stated to the two hosts ‘the background music really works’. I personally couldn’t hear it. To be honest, I wasn’t paying much attention, as I was focussing on the microphone, which seemed to double in size, as the time neared to my interview.
It’s my turn. I get into the seat, look at the MASSIVE MICROPHONE (which is grown even bigger in the last 10 minutes), focus on Jeannie and Lee and put my headphones on. Good God! The background music they are referring to is TECHNO! For those that don’t know me, I work in silence. So you can imagine…….. blocking this background NOISE (sorry, I refuse to call it music) was going to be difficult.
Joking apart, I found the whole two hours a very positive and rewarding experience. It started by the interviewers stating that they were apprehensive about hosting a two hour show about suicide. Lee talked about his personal difficulties. Jeannie and I spoke about our experiences of losing someone to suicide.
The two hours passed by so quickly, it wasn’t stuffy or pompous. Nonetheless, it was full of facts and engaged with and signposted their young vulnerable listeners, who are deemed to be a hard to reach population, to key resources. Professionals could learn so much, by listening to this two hour show. Specifically, to see how it is possible to educate and signpost hard to reach populations via radio
If you have time, I would recommend listening to the whole interview, which is full of facts, humour, vulnerabilities and compassion.