“You don’t need to be a mental health professional to save a life” - Suicide Prevention Day 2022

We talk to two local women who have faced the devastating reality of suicide.

Saturday 10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Every year, communities across the world join together to raise awareness of suicide and ways to help those struggling.

The theme this year is “creating hope through action” and aims to inspire confidence and hope among those struggling with their mental health.

Why is World Suicide Prevention Day important?

ONS data shows from 2021 shows that 4,912 suicides were registered in 2020 in England, equivalent to an age-standardised mortality rate of 10.0 deaths per 100,000 people.

The rate of male suicides was significantly higher than that of females, with 15.3 deaths per 100,000 people compared with 4.9 per 100,000 people.

Suicide still carries a stigma worldwide, and often loved-ones are unsure how to talk to someone they’re concerned about. World Suicide Prevention Day starts conversations about suicide, and organisations share ways to seek or offer support.

Statistics across Merseyside

It’s important to note these figures are likely to include deaths from 2020 due to delayed data during the coronavirus pandemic.

Office for National Statistics figures show 50 deaths from suicide were registered in Liverpool in 2021 – down from 54 the year before.

A further 39 suicide deaths were recorded in 2019, meaning there were 11 suicides per 100,000 people in the area in the three years to 2021. This was up from 10.1 in 2018-20 and 9.9 in 2017-19.


Thirty two deaths from suicide were registered in Wirral in 2021 – down from 39 the year before.

A further 22 suicide deaths were recorded in 2019, meaning there were 11.4 suicides per 100,000 people in the area in the three years to 2021. This was up from 10.5 in 2018-20 and 8.7 in 2017-19.


Twenty nine deaths from suicide were registered in Sefton in 2021 – up from 20 the year before.

A further 22 suicide deaths were recorded in 2019, meaning there were 10 suicides per 100,000 people in the area in the three years to 2021. This was up from 9 in 2018-2020 but in line with 2017-2019.


Twenty one deaths from suicide were registered in Knowsley in 2021 – up from 10 the year before.

A further eight suicide deaths were recorded in 2019, meaning there were 10 suicides per 100,000 people in the area in the three years to 2021. This was up from 7.6 in 2018-20 but down from 10.4 in 2017-19.

Liv’s story

Twenty five -year-old Liv Sturgeon is a retail supervisor and psychology student, living in Liverpool.

Despite her bubbly exterior and academic success, Liv has struggled with depression and anxiety, and often found herself feeling suicidal.

Liv is a student in Liverpool.
Liv is a student in Liverpool.
Liv is a student in Liverpool.

She told LiverpoolWorld: “I’ve dealt with suicidal thoughts on and off for around nine years. I’ve never been able to see myself having a future, and sometimes I haven’t wanted one at all.

“In 2019, I lost a friend to suicide and it instantly made me panic about everyone else in my life - for months afterwards I had the fear of losing someone else, which is why I always put others before myself even at my own expense. I can’t imagine living a life without struggling with suicidal thoughts, but I just try to take it one day at a time and be kind to myself.”

In 2020, Liv took part in a skydive dedicated to her friend Jen and raised five times the amount of money she had hoped, for the mental health charity, Mind.

Liv continued: “I think suicide prevention day is important because of the stigma still attached to suicidal thoughts and mental health. The majority of people I’ve come across in my life have dealt with suicidal thoughts at some point in their life; when I first started struggling with depression I thought I was the only one, which is why raising awareness is so important.

“Suicide affects the majority, not the minority. I’m hoping that the more we speak about it, the more normalised it’ll become to a point where someone asks you how you are and you can say “I’m having suicidal thoughts”. We’ve got a long way to go but we’re definitely on the right track.

“The government urgently need to increase funding for mental health treatment. Mental health professionals are doing the best they can, but they don’t have the funding to be able to help everyone. If someone is in suicidal crisis they can go to A&E but have to wait hours to speak to someone, and may even get sent home without any treatment or support offered.

People can ring an ambulance if they are in distress but they can’t get to them quick enough because they’re overwhelmed with calls. Waiting lists for treatment through the NHS are too long that people lose hope as they can’t cope with their thoughts any longer and feel completely isolated. There needs to be support available outside of A&E, and to strengthen patient safety and wellbeing in mental health units.”

Having explored multiple therapies that she found unsuccessful, Liv is now having private therapy, taking anti-depressants, and taking life one day at a time.

She said: “It’s so hard reaching out when you’re in distress, and I know this as I’ve been there myself. The first time I spoke to a doctor about my depression I wrote it all down as I knew I wouldn’t be able to say it out loud. I went to the appointment and asked her to read it.

“Once the hardest part was out of the way we discussed the support available to me. If you don’t feel ready to speak to a professional then write it down for a friend or family member to read, or just someone that you trust. I know for a fact they would much rather you open up to them than struggle with those thoughts alone. You are so important to the people in your life and they want you to stay.”

The Martin Gallier Project

The Martin Gallier Project was founded in 2017 by Jessica Gallier, following the loss of her father to suicide.

In February 2019, Jess opened Wirral’s first Suicide Prevention Centre, based at 57 New Chester Road, New Ferry. The centre is non-clinical and offers a range of activities that promote wellbeing with an overall focus on suicide prevention.

The centre offers a range of support options, including talking therapy, exercise for mental wellness and Martin’s Man Cave, an informal peer support group for men.

The Martin Gallier Project.
The Martin Gallier Project.
The Martin Gallier Project.

There are no barriers to being supported by the service and you don’t need a referral. It is adult only, but parents who are worried about a child having suicidal thoughts can seek support, to then support that child.

Jessica Gallier, CEO of The Marin Gallier Project told LiverpoolWorld: “Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and we can all play our part in creating a suicide safer community. It’s important to note that you don’t need to be a mental health professional to make a difference or to save a life. Being suicide alert, being willing to ask clearly and directly about suicide, and having a basic knowledge of the services that are available in your area is the easiest way to make a difference.

“In Merseyside we have some groundbreaking organisations and initiatives including: Sean’s Place, The Open Door Charity, Wirral Mind, The Martin Gallier Project and James’ Place. A great place to research what’s available in your area is via The Hub Of Hope app or website.

“Knowing where to signpost a person with thoughts of suicide can truly save a life. World Suicide Prevention Day is a designated time to learn, reflect, and to consider what we can achieve when we work together to prevent suicide. I’m hopeful that we can work together to drastically decrease our suicide rates in Merseyside and beyond by pushing forward collaboratively with the backing of our communities.”

Suicide hotlines

Samaritans: Contact for at anytime on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.

Papyrus: Under 35s can contact Papyrus between 9am and midnight. They are available to call on 0800 068 4141 or text 07860039967.

National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK: You can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 anytime.

Shout: If you would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support if you are in crisis and need immediate help.