Why was Brentwood Town Hall lit up green?

Brentwood Town Hall has been lit up green this week

Brentwood Town Hall has been lit up green - Credit: Brentwood Borough Council

You might have wondered why Brentwood Town Hall was illuminated with green light. 

The borough is hoping to shine a light on suicide prevention, joining communities across Essex in lighting up landmarks in the colour of world suicide prevention week, which runs until December 12. 

In 2019, 111 people lost their lives to suicide in Essex and 83 per cent of them were men.  

Nadine Winiberg, suicide prevention training lead at Thurrock and Brentwood Mind, said: “What we want to do is open the door to conversations around mental health and how people are feeling. 

“If someone is having suicidal thoughts, if they are feeling depressed or anxious, we want people to be able to have those conversations, to actually say: ‘Are you feeling low? Are you feeling depressed?’ And even: ‘Are you suicidal?’. 

“A lot of people think that you say those words and it's going to trigger someone to do it; it actually doesn’t. 

“You saying those words to someone might just save a life.” 

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Stigma around suicidal thinking means many people struggle to talk to others about how they are feeling, but Nadine urged people to ask friends, colleagues and family members how they are doing if they notice changes in their behaviour. 

She said: “It’s those changes in someone maybe not wanting to socialise, withdrawing from you, not replying to text messages, they are maybe becoming absent from work – there’s lots of little changes.” 

She said Thurrock and Brentwood Mind's free online suicide prevention training arms people with the knowledge of how to have these conversations and also teaches people where they can direct people in crisis. 

“If they are at that point where they are in crisis, where you really are worried about someone, knowing the avenues that you can direct them to,” she said. 

“It’s not just 999, we have crisis sanctuaries, NHS 111 option two. It’s having the knowledge of those places that you can direct them if that’s what they are telling you they are wanting to do.” 

Cllr Cliff Poppy, chair of the community and health committee at Brentwood Borough Council, said: “It only takes 20 minutes and I hope you never have to put the training into action but if you do, you could save a life.”