Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day which is an awareness day to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. Every year organisations and communities around the world come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide. As well as the usual theme of ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’, members of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) decided to focus on the theme ‘connection’. Over the day the NSPA were sharing how you can connect with yourself through things like nature, arts, and self- care, and how you can connect with others, like your neighbours or communities. I believe we can all play an active part in suicide prevention and have been following the NSPA’s updates closely. I would encourage everyone to look at the Samaritans’ website for information on how you can get help if you need it, but also what we can all do to support friends, family and - even strangers - who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts.
On the theme of ‘connection’, next week I am meeting with Mars Petcare to discuss the role that pets can play in helping loneliness. As many of you are aware, I am a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Loneliness and I have been supporting their inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on loneliness. I was interested to hear stories about the roles pets can play in helping to address this growing issue by providing companionship and, sometimes, encouraging exercise. I am looking forward to discussing this further with Mars next week and seeing what projects could be trialled in Broxtowe. If you have any interesting ideas, please do share them with me.
This week is also Organ Donation Week. You may have seen that Nottingham University Hospitals teamed up with the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to wrap fire engines in NHS Organ Donor Messaging. This year, NHS England have been keen to remind everyone of the changes in the law that means we now have an ‘opt-out system’. I support this law as it does save so many more lives, but it is important to remember that everyone has a choice. This week, why not have the conversation, educate yourselves and ‘make, record and share’ your organ donation decision? You can read more about organ donation online here.
On a final note, I wanted to remind you that on Monday 14th September the law is changing meaning that no more than six people may meet up at any one time. I know that this is disappointing for some of you but it is an important step in making sure we remain safe and control the spread of Covid-19. You can read more about the change in law here (including the exemptions) and, as ever, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.