[WATCH] Local councillor unites council chamber with speech on male suicide

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My emotional speech / motion on suicide prevention. Following cross party unity, the chamber voted unanimously in support of it. Thanks for the support. Remember, if you're feeling crap, talk to somebody and next time you ask if somebody is ok, just ask them again... it could save a life! Cheers. If you require help, please call the Samaritans 24 hours helpline on 116 123

Posted by Simon Morrall on Thursday, 8 November 2018

A local councillor delivered an emotional speech on male suicide to a full Birmingham City Council meeting earlier this month, prompting two other councillors to speak openly about their own struggles and gaining support from all sides. (Tuesday 6th November).

After the government recently announced new measures to boost suicide prevention – including a new ‘suicide prevention minister’ and increased funding for the Samaritans – Cllr Simon Morrall (Con, Frankley Great Park) spoke to move a motion to ensure Birmingham’s Suicide Prevention Strategy was updated and regularly scrutinised.

In a candid and heartfelt speech, Cllr Morrall spoke of his close friend – his political opposite – who sadly took his own life. He told the council chamber how someone takes their own life in the UK every 2 hours, stating suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 50.

Cllr Morrall is passionate about suicide prevention and already gives a portion of his Councillor’s allowance to support a campaign combating male suicide – he donates £100 a month to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).

Cllr Simon Morrall running the Great Birmingham Run for CALM

He also raised £450 for CALM by running his first half marathon, the Great Birmingham Run, last month.

Cllr Morrall’s motion was met with open, personal responses from several other members of the chamber, across the political spectrum.

Labour’s Mike Sharpe (Pype Hayes) told the chamber of his own struggles with mental health. After serving with the military in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, Cllr Sharpe said he felt he had suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a young man.

Cllr Sharpe said: “The trouble with mental illness is you walk around the street and you look fine, but you’re not. Inside you are churning like nobody knows you are churning.”

He stressed the importance of opening up the conversation on mental health and suicide.

And fellow Conservative Cllr Alex Yip (Wylde Green) gave a frank account of how, as a 23 year old on a teaching placement in Shanghai, he had reached his own lowest ebb – dangling his feet from the edge of a seven storey building before being discovered and talked down by a friend.

In a rare moment of unity in the city’s council chamber, Cllr Morrall’s motion was passed unanimously.

Watch the full debate online: from 3:04:42

If you have suicidal thoughts or are struggling in any way, please reach out and speak to someone – a friend, a family member, a professional or a stranger.

Samaritans are available to talk at any time of the day or night – you do not have to be suicidal to speak to them. For an immediate response, please call them on 116 123 at anytime. All calls are free. Alternatively, email jo@samaritans.org

Other organisations that offer support include:

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