Kick-off of text alerts to help prevent suicides

Representatives from Motherwell, Clyde, Airdrieonians and Albion Rovers attended last week's event at Ravenscraig Sports Facility
Representatives from Motherwell, Clyde, Airdrieonians and Albion Rovers attended last week's event at Ravenscraig Sports Facility

A text alert system to remind young men to check on their friends has been launched by Suicide Prevention NorthLanarkshire, as a measure to tackle suicide.

A first in Scotland, the ‘RU THAT GUY’ suicide prevention campaign encourages young men to check on their friends and family at times when they may be feeling low, often after nights-out.

The text system was officially launched at a special seven-a-side football tournament held at Ravenscraig last Wednesday which featured more than 350 players from across Lanarkshire and beyond as part of National Suicide Prevention Week.

Suicide is responsible for more deaths in Scotland each year than traffic accidents, and in particular affects young men in the 30-50 year-old age group.

Lynne MacDonald, Suicide Prevention Lead with North Lanarkshire Council explained: “Suicide devastates lives and communities across Scotland every day of every week. The figures are shocking and we need to do more about it.

“The idea behind our new text alert system was born after discussions with our target audience – young men.

“Men are far less likely to seek help, talk to friends or let anyone know they are feeling worried, concerned or suicidal.

“Unfortunately, this same group are far more likely to take their own lives.

“Our RU THAT GUY campaign aims to encourage people to ‘be that’ person who will text or phone their friends, maybe after a night out, maybe after a tough week or just when they suspect they maybe aren’t themselves.

“Just one simple text could make all the difference to someone who needs help.

“Sign-up now by texting: THATGUY to 07903594700.”

The 350 players participating in the seven-a-side tournament have signed up to the text alert system, which works by sending reminders to your mobile phone at key times, often late at night and throughout the year, to check in on your friends.

It’s been backed by local pro sides Motherwell, Clyde, Airdrie and Albion Rovers.

Teams in the tournament, organised by North Lanarkshire Leisure, included Motherwell Bois, McDonalds and sides from the emergency services and voluntary sector.

If you are feeling suicidal or suspect that someone you know is considering suicide, contact Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours) or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.