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News Report Page 21 of 25
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Suicide Awareness Training hits 2 million

THE Zero Suicide Alliance's (ZSA) free online Suicide Awareness Training has reached another major milestone for Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW).

The training, which launched in November 2017, has now been taken 2 million times at the start of MHAW, which runs until 15 May 2022. This equates to a cost of just 99p per training taken following the Government's financial backing of the ZSA in 2018 to improve suicide awareness training and the development of 1 of the most extensive digital resources to support suicide prevention

Each person who completes the training gains skills to have a potentially life-saving conversation with someone who may be thinking about suicide.

ZSA co-founder Professor Joe Rafferty CBE said:- "We're delighted so many people have taken our training and thank everyone who continues to support us by sharing our training and messages. We believe that 1 life lost to suicide is 1 too many. You don't have to be a health professional to talk about suicide and the more people who feel able to speak to someone at risk, the more lives that can be saved."

Since launching the 20 minute training, the ZSA has added social isolation training, including:- bespoke courses translated into Welsh and another for students.

Steve Mallen, another ZSA co-founder who lost his 18 year old son Edward to suicide in 2015, said:- "1 in 5 people will experience suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. Only 1 in 4 young people who die by suicide have been in recent contact with mental health service. This is why it's important more people feel able to have conversations with someone who's struggling. We know talking about suicide doesn't come easily for most people, even if you're talking to someone you know well. Our training aims to support people to feel more comfortable and able to talk about suicide so that they're prepared if the situation arises. I made a promise to myself to keep Ed's legacy alive and I'm extremely proud our Suicide Awareness training has reached so many people and continues to do so."

Expert reveals the surprising benefits that playing puzzles and games can have on your mental health

WHILST playing games, whether it's a board game or a video game or team sport can be a great way to spend your time, there are numerous benefits that games can have on our mental health. Neal from SudokuCraze outlines 5 of the biggest benefits that playing games can have on our mental health.

Reduces stress... Games have been shown to slow our breathing, our heart rate and our blood pressure and can result in giving us a calming effect, therefore reducing stress. By engaging in a gaming activity, whether it be a physical sport, a board game or an online game on a regular basis, can leave us feeling more relaxed and better able to cope with stressors around us from work and home.

Keeps your brain active and healthy... Games and activities that require problem solving and critical thinking are fantastic ways of stimulating our brain to keep it healthy. Grey matter in the brain decreases as we age - a part that is directly responsible for memory, emotions, and cognitive ability. Studies have shown that the more mentally active we are throughout life and into our later years, the more grey matter that we retain and therefore the more healthy and active our brains are as we age. Board games, video games and puzzles are all excellent ways to stimulate our minds and stay sharp, whether we are young or old.

Boosts your mood... Not only are playing games fun, they also work wonders in boosting our mood. When we engage in an enjoyable group activity, our body begins releasing feel-good hormones, such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. These chemicals reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, boost our mood, increasing feelings of happiness.

Increases self esteem... Often when faced with a new challenge or situation, we may question if we are capable of pushing through and succeeding but through regular games, teamwork activities or sports, we are better able to build our Trust in ourselves. Although it may feel scary, or place us out of our comfort zone, consistently working with others on a team can help us to feel more confident both in and out of the team environment.

Increases attention span... Having a longer attention span means that we are able to focus on a single task, for a longer period of time, without becoming distracted. Attention span and focus is a skill that can be improved upon and can benefit us in all areas of our life, from focusing on lectures and Schoolwork to sitting through meetings and staying focused on a project at work. Playing any type of game that requires concentration, whether it be a board game like monopoly or chess, or a video game, can help to increase our attention span and therefore improve both the length of time and the quality of our focus.


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