Sussex Search and Rescue charity backs importance of World Suicide Prevention Day

The charity wants to highlight World Suicide Prevention Day

‘We have to get the message out’ about World Suicide Prevention Day, Sussex Search and Rescue team leader Paul Francis has said.

Paul, who is also secretary of the charity, believes that if the suicide awareness day saves just one life it will have been a success.

Sussex Search and Rescue has about 60 volunteers

Click here to read more about World Suicide Prevention Day, which is today, and how you can help.

Paul said: “Talk to friends and family. If you think someone’s having problems just talk to them.

“It may be that just having a conversation with them is enough for them to seek help.”

Highly-trained search and rescue volunteers

If you think someone is suffering, start a conversation, is Paul's message

Sussex Search and Rescue is a registered charity that receives no funding from the Government, Paul said.

But they are on call 24/7 to assist Sussex Police in locating missing people.

Paul said: “We have got about 60 members at the moment, all volunteers.

“We average around 40 callouts a year.

This graphic shows the scale of the issue

“It is usually either people with some form of dementia or people who have given an indication that they might want to harm themselves.”

Police ‘do not have the resources’

Paul said Sussex Police rely on Sussex Search and Rescue for help in searches.

He added: “They do not have the resources.

“We can put 20 trained searchers out on the ground in the space of an hour.”

He added that the charity’s volunteers are specially trained in search and rescue.

Because they receive no Government funding, Paul said help from the public is important to keep them going.

Members of the public can donate time or money on the Sussex Search and Rescue website.

Samaritans are here to help

A spokesman for Samaritans said: “Samaritans is here round the clock every single day for the year for anyone struggling to cope. If you’re worried about someone, or would like emotional support yourself, please get in touch.”

To contact Samaritans call 116 123 for free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Or you can email

The spokesman added: “If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call us on the phone. This number is free to call. You don’t have to be suicidal to call us.”

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