Suicide Prevention Campaigns

Water Safety Scotland is committed to working together and sharing members campaigns and information on Suicide Prevention.

A Suicide Prevention Campaign Communications Plan can be found here and links to boxes below. The plan is a work in progress and will adapt and change as members release new campaigns.


 Small Talk Saves Lives

You might not realise it, but you’ve already got the experience to help save a life.

Samaritans’ Small Talk Saves Lives campaign is encouraging people to trust their instincts and use their everyday skills to help protect others. Something as simple as starting a conversation with someone who appears to be in distress can be enough to interrupt that person’s suicidal thoughts and encourage them to seek help.

Why small talk matters

Suicide accounts for around a third deaths by drowning in Scotland each year. But the public can play a valuable role in preventing suicide by knowing what to look out for and how to intervene.

Research by Samaritans found two in three people recognise taking time to ask a simple question can be enough to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts. Three quarters said that if a loved one was visibly upset or distressed in a public place they would want someone to approach them and check they are ok.

However, uncertainty over how to help can be a barrier. Samaritans found that 44% of people would be more likely to approach someone who was upset or distressed if they knew they weren’t going to make the situation worse.

There is lots of evidence showing that - far from making things worse - starting a conversation can interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts, giving them space to talk about what’s on their mind and to get help. That’s why Small Talk Saves Lives is supporting the public to use their everyday skills to help protect others.

Recognising someone who may need help

People behave in different ways when they are upset or distressed. But here are some signs that a person may be at risk:

  • Standing alone or in an isolated spot

  • Looking distant, withdrawn or upset

  • Staying a particular spot for a long period of time

    Perhaps someone just looks out of place, or you get a sense that 'something isn't quite right'. If you feel this way, trust your instincts and start a conversation.

    How to help?

    If you notice someone who looks like they may need help, think SAM and follow these 3 simple steps.

These simple steps will help guide you through the conversation. Think SAM.

Start a conversation

Small talk is a great start. You could then ask if they’re okay, introduce yourself and encourage them to talk. There may be some silences before they respond, but just try to be yourself.

Alert others

You don’t need to manage on your own. Depending on your location, get the attention of staff, life-guards, or police - or ask a passer-by to alert somebody. Ask the person in distress if there is someone you can call for them

Move them to safety

Encourage the person to sit down somewhere safe and quiet. You could mention sources of help, including Samaritans and their GP, as well as friends and family. We don’t recommend that you make any physical contact. If the situation is an emergency and someone appears to be in immediate danger call 999.


Find out about Small Talk Saves Lives here 



Thinking about suicide is very common. Roughly, 1 person in 20 is thinking about suicide at any one time.

Edinburgh High Street

You don’t have to act on your thoughts - you can choose to keep yourself safe. See the resources below for more information and help.


For more information, visit the SAMH website: