The Fed’s Director of Community Services, Bernie Garner, highlights the importance of greater mental health awareness in the community and offers some simple – yet essential – advice on getting help for yourself or someone else experiencing suicidal thoughts.


“There is never a good time to accept that you need to turn to others for help, but asking for support is never a weakness. On the contrary, accepting you need it can be the first step on the road back to wellness.

Just as important is knowing what help to offer if you believe a loved one or a friend is considering self-harm or suicide.

There are organisations – both Jewish and otherwise – who operate 24/7, offering support to people who are at their lowest ebb.


Supporting someone in crisis

Someone having suicidal thoughts might not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t desperate for support. Feeling ashamed, worthless and lacking hope can make it incredibly difficult to let others know what they are experiencing.

If you are concerned about someone there are a few things you can do:

  1. Firstly, show them that you care by telling them that you are worried about them and want to help.
  2. Don’t be afraid to discuss suicide with them – asking them about it won’t ‘put the idea in their head’. You can be upfront and ask if they are considering harming themselves or ending their life.
  3. Call for help and encourage them to look for help. Reassure them that they are not alone, and that there are people and organisations who can help them out of their current situation. Offer to stay with the person until they get help.

I repeat: Don’t avoid talking about suicide. Discussing it in an open, non-judgemental and sensitive manner can allow someone in crisis to know that they are not facing things on their own and help is available.”


Coping with Suicidal Feelings

If you are having thoughts about self-harming or killing yourself or are concerned about your own wellbeing and you don’t feel you can keep yourself safe, seek help immediately.

Go straight to any hospital A & E department, or call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you can’t get there yourself.

As a further option, ask someone else to call 999 for you or to take you to A & E.

If you need immediate support but don’t want to go to A & E there are other organisations you can call:

  1. The Samaritans on Freephone 116 123. They are there to listen and are open 24 hours a day
  2. Your GP’s surgery. Tell them you need an emergency appointment
  3. NHS 111
  4. Crisis Point on 0161 225 9500
  5. Sane Line on 0845 767 8000
  6. Your local council’s out-of-hours duty team: Bury – 0161 253 6606; Salford – 0161 794 8888; Manchester – 0161 234 5001
  7. Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide Helpline) on 0800 068 4141 or via text on 07786 209 696 or email


Mental Health in our Community

It’s vital that we all keep working together to break the stigma of mental ill-health and the perception that it is embarrassing or something to be ashamed of.

According to the Mental Health charity MIND, approximately 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem every year, and 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem every week.


Mental Health and Carers

For those who are caring for a loved one, looking after your own mental health is essential. If the person you are caring for has demanding care needs – physically, mentally or both – it can be extremely challenging and can take its toll on your emotional, physical and psychological health.

But carers often don’t think about their own needs and don’t acknowledge that in order to take better care of someone else, they must look after themselves.  This is not selfish.

If you are caring for a loved one and find that your day-to-day activities and ability to cope are affected by your mental health struggles, then it may be the right time to be seeking help.

Many people are unaware of the help that is available or how to access it or they feel unable to ask for it.

Talk to someone about how you feel and what help is available is so important.

The Fed is here for any Jewish person, living in north or south Manchester, who needs help, support or advice, whether due to a sudden crisis or long-term problem, needing a quick piece of information or ongoing practical support. We also help anyone who is concerned for, or looking after, a Jewish person.

You can speak to The Fed’s daily Advice and Support Worker who may be able to resolve your query straightaway or will refer your case to be looked at in in more detail, with a view to providing you with the advice, support and guidance you need to manage your situation.

Contact us on 0161 772 4800 (option 2) Monday to Friday 9:30 – 5:30

or email