There has been a focus on mental health and suicide prevention this month with World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday and R U OK Day today. World Mental Health Day is also coming up on 10th October. Over the years and more recently these “days” have attracted some criticism as being tokenistic and/or giving people the impression that the community is wholly responsible for preventing suicide. From a professional perspective, these days are all about acknowledging mental health as a common issue, raising awareness, educating people and getting conversations started. People have suffered in silence often for many years for a multitude of reasons - stigma and shame, poor understanding of mental health, uncertainty about how or where to seek help, and lack of confidence and knowledge by family and friends in dealing with emotional struggles. We have seen this recently in the media. Awareness days recognise and can give voice to people’s private concerns so that they can get the support that they need. It is about being pro-active rather than waiting for a problem to arise. The intention is not to give the impression that all suicides can be prevented or that everyone is responsible for the other person’s problems. It is not to induce guilt or compound the trauma of survivors or those touched by suicide. It is an emotive topic and so it is understandable that it can be hard to discuss and can become and is personal. Schools and workplaces are running workshops and activities, raising money for services and having discussions. This can only be a positive step toward reducing mental illness and saving lives. Reach out if you need some extra support.