The stats surrounding suicide are tragic. Every 90 minutes, someone in the UK takes their own life. It’s something one in five people think about in their lifetime, and one in 15 sadly attempt. But one of the most powerful tools at our disposal to help those who may be considering suicide, or to signal we need support, is conversation. It’s for this reason that for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020, Grassroots Suicide Prevention has teamed up with renowned graphic designer Anthony Burrill to launch an awareness-raising campaign centred around the phrase: “Ask Now Save Lives”.
Appearing on T-shirts and a fully fledged digital campaign, Ask Now Save Lives makes use of Anthony’s signature shrewd use of words and bold typography to spread an indispensable message in a direct manner. Reducing a potentially complex issue into a simple message is paramount to the campaign’s concept and success with a result that is simple but effective. “When the words are spelt out in bold letterpress typography, they have a visual power,” Anthony tells us. “It’s a powerful message about a simple act of kindness delivered simply and honestly.”
On where the idea for those specific words came from, he adds: “Talking to a friend who you think might need help can make all the difference. Don’t wait to be asked for help. By visualising this message as simply and directly as possible we were able to make a design that delivers the message quickly.” The phrase, he continues, is “empowering, it gives you permission to act on your human instinct. We all want to look out for each other, but sometimes we hold back because we are afraid of saying the wrong thing. A text or call will let your friend know that you’re thinking about them.”
When discussing the campaign, Grassroots Suicide Prevention offers some advice. If you’re worried about someone, ask: “I care about you – are you thinking about suicide?” And if you need support, ask: “I’m really struggling at the moment – can you help me?” They add that when you ask someone about suicide, you show that you care. “You give them an opportunity to talk openly and start turning towards safety. You can connect them with a network of support, such as friends, family and professional caregivers. When you ask for help, you give yourself a turning point. You allow yourself to get out from underneath overwhelming thoughts and feelings, and become safe for now. Asking for support can help you feel that people do care and there is hope.”
To help support the campaign and the wider cause, you can donate or buy one of the Ask Now Save Lives T-shirts; donations fund vital suicide prevention training and distribute life-saving resources to thousands of people. You can also download the StayAlive app, a suicide prevention resource full of information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis. You can use it if you’re having thoughts about suicide, or if you’re concerned for someone else. Grassroots Suicide Prevention also delivers a range of training you can attend and has an interactive film Real Talk About Suicide, which helps guide the viewer as they make choices to support someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
Anthony Burrill: Ask Now Save Lives (Copyright © Anthony Burrill, 2020)
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.