‘READ between the lines’ is the message for people across Moray with the launch of Suicide Prevention Week.
There were 16 cases of suicide in Moray in 2011, with the emotional impact felt by families, friends and colleagues right across the community.
By asking people how they feel, and watching out for warning signs, lives can be saved, the campaign urges.
A partnership of local organisations is taking forward Choose Life Scotland’s national strategy, launched locally at Elgin City’s Borough Briggs.
Because young men are one of the key "at risk" groups, the football club has backed the campaign and will be displaying posters at its ground.
Manager Ross Jack said: "Some people are unable to get the help they need because they find themselves unable to talk about their feelings but it can be a big relief for them to acknowledge they need help."
Signs that things may not be well should be taken seriously and include: if someone appears stressed, anxious or depressed; does not seem to be coping with problems; is distracted, moody or withdrawn; or shows marked changes in their eating, sleeping or drinking habits.
As well as asking the person what is troubling them, listening to what they say and letting them know you care is crucial.
Giving a person the opportunity to talk about their problems often leads to a sense of hope, encouraging them to explore ways to move forward and access support, said Steven McCluskey, Moray Choose Life co-ordinator.
"The campaign is the result of learning from research which suggests family, friends and workmates of people at risk of suicide may be in a good position to recognise signs of distress in someone and be able to help," he added.
"It also aims to assure people that asking a person what’s troubling them can make a positive difference. Talking about suicide does not plant the idea or increase the risk."
MSP Richard Lochhead urged local people to recognise the warning signs and not to be afraid to ask others how they feel.
"Suicide is an issue which people feel uncomfortable talking about, but the key message from this campaign is that we should indeed talk about suicide and if we know anyone who may be thinking about taking their own life, the right thing to do is to talk to them and hopefully seek out help," he said.
Also supporting Suicide Prevention Week in Moray is NHS Grampian’s ‘Healthpoint’ at the concourse, Dr Gray’s Hospital, Elgin, where free information and confidential advice is available.
Details on how people can support their own mental health wellbeing is offered at all events taking place as part of the first Moray Feelgood Festival which runs from October 1 to October 24. Visit www.morayfeelgoodfestival.co.uk for listings and more information.
Local suicide prevention training for communities, workplaces and organisations is also available via the Moray Choose Life partnership.
Contact email@example.com for information.
Organisations which provide help and advice include Breathing Space on 0800 838587 and Samaritans on 08457 909090.