“Just ASK” - Experience of Peterborough woman inspires new suicide prevention video

A new suicide prevention video, inspired by the experience of a Peterborough woman, is encouraging people to “Just ASK.”

Friday, 10th September 2021, 4:55 am
Cindy Da Costa.

It was the demeanour of her colleague that made Cindy reach out to him. After suffering from depression as a teenager, she could all too easily recognise the signs.

She knew she had to talk to him - and she did.

“I had suicidal thoughts when I was about 15. So I guess I am sensitive to those feelings in others. He was in his 20s, in tears, told me there was nothing to hold him here.

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“It was the first time I had talked to someone face to face like that. I was nervous. I knew anything I might say could have a big effect on him but I just thought about me when I was younger and how happy I would have been to have someone have a conversation with me like this when I was at my lowest.”

Those are the words of Cindy Da Costa on how she helped save a life by preventing a colleague from committing suicide. She knew to approach the conversation about suicide in a direct way because, for the previous three years, she had been volunteering with Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire (CPSL) Mind’s STOP Suicide campaign, after hearing a talk at university.

Today (September 10), as part of World Suicide Prevention Day, CPSL Mind have launched their latest tool to engage with the issue of suicidal thoughts and prevention.

This is in the form of an animated film, created by video game company Jagex, which uses the lived experience of those who have experienced suicidal thoughts to give broad guidance on how anyone can reach out - like Cindy - and help others in crisis.

“Suicide prevention really is everybody’s business,” says Aly Anderson, Chief

Executive of CPSL Mind.

“We can all learn how to spot the signs that someone might be having suicidal thoughts, to have open conversations and to help an individual at risk to stay safe.

“This animation is designed to empower people to ask directly about suicide if they are worried about someone. It guides them through an intervention, in simple steps, using the acronym ASK – Actively listen, Safety plan, Know your limitations.”

“Supporting someone who is suicidal does not make you responsible for them long term and looking after yourself afterwards is vital. We hope this animation will help take away some of the fear and concern that people have around talking openly about suicide and supporting those at risk.”

Cindy is certain the animation will help. The 26-year-old from Peterborough first heard about the work of CPSL Mind’s STOP Suicide campaign at university and was amazed such things existed.

Her family had moved to England from Poland when she was 13 and she found a new country, a new language and new school mates overwhelming. She slid into depression and found it difficult to talk to her family and did not know there was a wealth of help available.

Since getting involved as a Campaign Maker, she has reached out to friends and posted on social media about her involvement and signposted others to help.

She added: “I want people to know there is hope and that there are organisations out there to help. If you don’t want to talk face-to-face with someone you can email or text instead. If I had not talked to my colleague that day, I would not have been able to sleep that night. I just had to talk to him. If it was even a tiny bit helpful that was enough for me.

“He did thank me a week later – and he did look so much better!”

To get involved with World Suicide Prevention Day and to find crisis resources, helplines and training opportunities, visit www.stopsuicidepledge.org.