LAST year 99 people took their own lives in Glasgow.

The number is a 12 per cent increase in suicide in the city on the year before.

The rise is against a longer term trend of falling rates from 160 suicide deaths in 2000 but is a cause for concern.

The number of suicides has led to an effort to train volunteers to look for signs of someone who could be at risk of suicide and help them feel able to intervene.

Men are around three times more likely to take their own life than women based on the Scottish breakdown

Last year of the 784 cases across the country 581 were men and 203 were women.

Men aged 35 to 54 are most at risk.

A number of cases in recent months in Glasgow have seen men reported missing from their home followed by an appeal by family and police for help to trace them.

Sadly, in many cases a body has found and no suspicious circumstances reported.

Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership has trained 40 volunteers and staff to give talks on how to approach the subject of suicide 

Larry Callary, is a session leader for suicideTALK, which has delivered training in council offices, supermarkets, banks and benefit offices among others.

He said a direct approach to the subject can help.

He said: “Life can be very stressful, yet there is still stigma around admitting to thoughts of suicide. Talking about your problems is imperative, it could save your own or someone else’s life.

“People contemplating suicide may use what we call ‘invitations’ as a way to invite help. It’s important to recognise these, talk to them about it and not be afraid of using the word ‘suicide’ in those conversations.”

He added: “Having thoughts of suicide is a normal human reaction when life gets painful and it’s important that people talk about how they feel. Suicide prevention is not the job of one person or service. Anyone can prevent suicide.

“We would encourage anyone with thoughts of suicide to talk to more than one person and get the support they need. And we would encourage people to intervene if they are worried about someone. Suicide Prevention is everybody’s business and there are a lot of resources out there that can help.”

George Duff, a council roads supervisor, saved a stranger’s life just weeks after receiving suicide prevention training.

With a colleague he was told of a man in his early 30s teetering on a bridge parapet.

George, spent 25 minutes calmly talking the man down using tactics learned in his training.

He said: “We phoned the police and I walked over to the guy, not getting too close, and started talking to him, asking his name. 

“I asked why he was doing this. I kept telling him it would be OK, and he should climb back over towards me, but he kept saying he didn’t want to be here anymore.

“You’re trained not to try to grab anyone, as they might fall. I made general conversation with him to try to take his mind off what he might do. I tried to use humour to try to lighten the situation and he gradually started to calm down a bit.

“I asked him what football team he supported, and if there was anything I could get him. He said he wanted a cup of tea, so I offered to take him for a cuppa at a wee café round the corner.”

The man eventually agreed to go to the café and brought one leg back over the parapet, but panicked when the police arrived and again threatened to jump.

 George asked the police for some space, as he’d struck up a rapport with the man and had almost convincing him to climb to safety.

The man eventually climbed to safety and George went and bought him a cup of tea  before the police took him to hospital.

Gary Macdonald set up MindTheMen after his cousin Grant died by suicide. On the first night in a cricket club in Partick 31 men turned up.

A new branch has since been set up in Springburn.
Derek Chalmers, who himself attempted suicide volunteers at the group.
He said: “There is a lot of toxic masculinity in society today, which suggests big boys don’t cry or it’s weak to admit you need help. 
“That’s utter rubbish and it’s costing lives. We have a phrase that’s been used more and more at MindTheMen, it’s very simple and very powerful  – It’s Not Weak to Speak.”


Derek Chalmers attempted suicide after a marriage breakdown long-standing battle with mental health problems.

Derek, from the South Side of Glasgow, said: “I’d struggled with my mental health since my teens and the end of my marriage sent me over the edge. 

“I was drinking and started using drugs and as time wore on I didn’t like the person I could see myself becoming. 

“I’d had suicidal thoughts in the past, but this was the first time I planned what I was going to do in any detail. I rehearsed it and rationalised it in my mind.”

The father-of-three survived, and he realised he needed help.

Derek, 40, received treatment and has since re-married, changed career and meeting his second wife. 

He now works as a peer support worker with mental health charity SAMH and volunteers with MindTheMen.

He added: “There is still a stigma around suicide and mental health issues. I felt guilt and shame about what I’d done, because it would have hurt others, but I also had a sense of relief that it hadn’t worked. 

“I still have my bad days, but I know my triggers and how to manage them. I get a lot from using my personal experiences to help other guys open up about their own mental ill-health and thoughts of suicide.”

Helpful numbers: 

Samaritans free 116 123 
Breathing space 0800 83 85 87
GHSCP Mental health crisis 0845 650 1730