AT the Glasgow Times we've been contacted over the past year by families and loved ones and friends who have been bereaved by suicide.

Each one of these stories is an individual tragedy of a loved life ended too soon.

But with each story we started to form a wider picture of an issue affecting our city but one that people were still uncomfortable to talk about.

We decided, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, to write a week-long series of stories looking at that still-taboo subject - suicide.

Our team wanted to be as sensitive and responsible as we possibly could so we've been liaising with the media team at Samaritans Scotland to ask for guidance and advice on our reporting.

One of the biggest things we want to achieve this week is getting people talking.

It's so important to let people who are struggling know that you're there for them and then helping with signposting them to the right place to seek help.

Each day we're publishing a fact box alongside our articles to help people do just that.

So many of us have been affected by suicide yet we don't talk about the issue comfortably or openly.

When I spoke to the Samaritans, I was told there's a fine line between de-stigmatising suicide and normalising it.

But the advise is that it's better to ask.

Don't be afraid to say the words, "Are you thinking about suicide?"

The person might not be ready to talk but you've let them know you're thinking of them and you're there, without judgement.

In today's paper my colleague Jamie Shuttleworth has written a deeply personal piece about his own struggles with his mental health.

And Jamie's talking about the importance of... well, just that - talking.

I'm very fortunate to have good mental health. Loads of physical quibbles, but my mental health is generally fine.

So it's really affecting to read what Jamie lives with every day.

For me. I have severe pain caused by kidney problems. Some morning I wake up and I'm well.

Other mornings I wake up and I know it's going to be a hard day.

The difference is that there's no shame in moaning about a bad back. I can't imagine what it would be like to be suffering and be unable to share that burden with anyone for fear they would judge me or think I was weak.

Again, when I spoke to the Samaritans, they told me that positive stories can be literally life-saving.

People who are struggling can truly benefit from reading about and identifying with someone who also struggles but who is making it through.

So Jamie, well done, pal. You might save someone else.

In Glasgow, more than 50% of young people wait longer than the supposedly maximum waiting time of 18 weeks for a CAMHS appointment.

While these waiting times are unacceptable, CAMHS is a high level of support and in city schools work is underway to try to support pupils before problems escalate.

I've spoken to the city's Principal Psychologist, Barry Syme, who talked me through the various initiatives going on for children, teenagers and young adults to help them with their mental health.

I'll be writing about that in the paper later in the week.

We've also spoken to families bereaved by suicide.

My colleague Jack Haugh's piece yesterday is worth looking up online if you missed it.

He spoke to the family of Edward McEwan, who took his own life in February.

Reading Jack's interview with Edward's mum and sisters, you can feel him in the room with you, their description of the young dad is just so vivid.

It's a heartbreaking read but vital.

Others in our team have spoken to families coping in the years following losing a loved one.

Senior reporter Maxine McArthur's story on Friday tells the story of a family five years after losing their much loved loved daughter and sister.

Her piece tomorrow is also a devastating read.

While we appreciate this is a series week of articles, we believe it is important.

And that there is light too.

We hope these stories will get people talking - asking friends and family if they are ok.

And not just ok but really ok.

You don't know what the people around you are living with until you find out.

Remember, the first step to saving a life is talking - it's as hard and as easy as that.