If you need help right nowIf you’re struggling with your mental health, having thoughts of suicide, or are worried about a friend or family member please call our 24/7 helpline Mindline phone:01823 276892 or freephone:08001381692 or visit Open Mental Health (Somerset’s Mental Health Alliance – Open Mental Health) to find help and support.

In an emergency dial 999.

Suicide can affect anybody and there isn’t a community in Somerset where people haven’t been touched by suicide.

Whether a hospital staff member or an owner of a local shop, we can all make a difference in reaching out and offering support to those in need. We know that if someone is having suicidal thoughts, receiving support from someone else can make a big difference.

Only a minority of people, who complete suicide, are known to mental health services.

We need to raise awareness. Its time to talk about suicide. Its time to say, let’s talk. We need to spread the message that talking to someone in distress won’t make the situation worse.

How to support the Orange Button Scheme

People who are having thoughts of suicide, or who are worried about a friend or family member, can now push the button when they see someone wearing a distinctive orange badge, and ask them for information and support.

The Orange Button is worn by people in Somerset who have undergone quality assured Mental Health or Suicide Prevention training: whilst they are not able to counsel people, they can help you to find relevant services locally.

The Orange Button signifies that the person displaying it is:

  • OK to say/hear the word suicide
  • Can listen without judgement
  • Can support people with signposting

Scheme Aims 

  • Create a community of people trained in suicide awareness that have gained skills to help people from quality assured training.
  • Create a network of organisations that have Orange Button wearers in place that can be easily identified who are able to listen and signpost.
  • To ensure all communities are aware of the Orange Button, what it signifies and how people can be involved, by promoting from within the community.

Why is it important?
Each death by suicide is a tragedy and the events leading up to an individual taking their own life are often complex. It is an emotional subject and something many people find difficult or distressing to talk about. The more we develop our understanding of why people die by suicide, the better we can provide emotional support to people at risk.

The Orange Button is important because…

  • It seeks to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding suicide
  • Suicide is everybody’s business
  • Training will help give people confidence to trust their instincts and start a conversation, which could save a life.

Step 1 – How it Works
If you would like to become an Orange Button holder, you will need to have completed; at least three hours of quality assured mental health or suicide prevention training. This is to ensure you are equipped with the skills to listen and signpost people.

The Orange Button Scheme is linked to (but not limited to) any one of the following funded training courses through Somerset Public Health:

  • Every Life Matters – Suicide Alertness (Half Day course) – professionals and public
  • ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) – professionals
  • Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) (2 day – Adult) – professionals

Visit the Healthy Somerset Website to find out more about training opportunities in the area (link to Healthy Somerset Training Offer page).

If you have already completed one of the training courses linked to the Orange Button Scheme (in the last 3 years), Public Health Somerset will contact you to see if you would like to take part.

Step 2 – How can I get an Orange Button?
Once you have completed the training you can sign up to be an Orange Button holder here:

Step 3 – Preparation for wearing the Orange Button
Once you have completed your training and submitted your application you should receive your pack in the post within 2 weeks. Your pack will include: a pin badge, window sticker and a resource pack of support materials including information on signposting to local services and self-care, please take some time to read and digest this.

Step 4 – Ongoing support for Orange Button holders
Once you have completed your training, received your pack and read through the guidance information you can wear the button on your clothing to identify you as somebody that has received suicide awareness training and/or add the graphic to your email signature.

At all times keep yourself well and be self-aware, wearing the badge is your choice only wear it when you feel well enough to support others.

Orange Button holders will receive quarterly newsletters, to provide updates regarding services in the area, orange button stories and a link to complete an evaluation form to ensure that the scheme is providing benefit and feedback on use.

Last reviewed: February 21, 2024 by Adam

Next review due: August 21, 2024

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