Mental health stall set up in Scarborough by suicide survivor

Sandra Wilson, centre, with volunteers at her mental health stall in Scarborough. PIC: Richard Ponter
Sandra Wilson, centre, with volunteers at her mental health stall in Scarborough. PIC: Richard Ponter

A woman who tried to take her own life earlier this year has begun a stall to help others going through hard times.

Sandra Wilson, from Scarborough, set up the stall last month after the police helped her to get mental health treatment.

READ MORE: Dawn, who lost her brother to suicide, encourages people to speak about mental health

“There’s plenty of places to go,” she said, “but I didn’t know about them.

“Attempting suicide felt like my only option but the police have really helped.”

Sandra has now had 18 sessions of counselling and is determined to help others.

The stall, which she runs on the corner of Northway and Westborough, gives people a gift in exchange for a signature on a mental health petition, as well as offering people information about mental health services locally.

Sandra explained: “Nothing is for sale, you can only take one item and you just have to put your name down to show your support for mental health.

“The Government need to put more money into it.

“Mental health in this world is a huge problem and it needs to be a priority.”

READ MORE: Funding boost for mental health crisis services in Scarborough

The stall gathered 1,500 signatures in just two days in August and Sandra hopes to run it as often as possible.

“I’ve had to drag my heels every day of my life, I’ve been up and down but I’m a different person now. [Counselling] has helped me feel like a human being again.

“Now I need to get my head into gear and help people.

“This is for people who are vulnerable.

“Don’t be ashamed if you have an illness.

“Your illness does not define you, your courage does.”

Between 2016 and 2018, Scarborough had the joint eighth highest rate of suicide in England, according to recent figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The suicide rate – 15.6 per 100,000 – was the highest of any local authority in Yorkshire and the Humber, and the rate for men – 23.5 per 100,000 – was the twelfth highest in the country, and well above the English average of 17.2.

READ MORE: Scarborough has joint eighth highest rate of suicide in England, latest figures show

How to get help:

If you feel like you need help you can contact the following services:

• The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service accepts self-referrals online at www.northyorkshireiapt.co.uk or 01947 899270.
• Crisis resolution and intensive home treatment teams are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 01723 384645.
• Scarborough Survivors, 9 Alma Square - Run a Resource Centre from 11.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday and 11am to 1.30pm on Fridays, and a Crisis Cafe from 7.30pm to 1am Friday and Saturday and 8pm to 1am on Sundays.
• North Yorkshire Mental Health Helpline - A confidential, anonymous and free to use service, 24 hours a days on 0333 0000 309.
• Samaritans - You can talk to the Samaritans any time you like about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal. 08457 90 90 90.
• CALM - The Campaign Against Living Miserably has a helpline for men in the UK who need to talk or find information and support. The helpline is open from 5pm to midnight – 0800 585858.
•In an emergency, always ring 999.