A MENTAL health campaign has been launched after suicides figures doubled in East Ayrshire last year.

In a bid to tackle the tragic figures ‘Ask Tell Save a Life’ has been kickstarted by the local authority to raise awareness.

It comes as Suicide Prevention Week gets underway from the 9th of September to let the community know they are not alone.

NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland worked together to develop an online resource ‘Ask Tell Save a Life: Every Life Matters’ to support suicide prevention, as part of the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

Last year 26 people in East Ayrshire took their own lives. The emotional impact on families, friends and communities bereaved by suicide is devastating and can have long lasting negative effects on those left behind.

The ripple effect on families, friends and communities adds another dimension, which would increase this figure dramatically.

The campaign asks everyone to be alert to the warning signs of suicide in people close to them.

The message is: ‘If you’re worried about someone, such as a friend, family member or workmate, asking them directly about their feelings can help to save their life.’

The campaign acknowledges that signs of suicide can be difficult to spot, but encourages people to take all signs of distress seriously, even if it seems a person is living a normal life.

It also assures people that asking a person about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference.

Linda Chisholm Suicide Prevention Lead in East Ayrshire said: “If someone you are close to shows signs of not being themselves, you will normally notice.

When changes in their behaviour begin to worry you – even if the signs come and go – the most important aspect is to ask them about it.”