Let’s get talking about Suicide
This week I’d like to get us talking about Suicide.
The most serious crisis
There is a darkness, which words can’t describe. A place where hope has been replaced by despair, where it can feel like the only way to end the pain and torment… is to end your life.
Suicide is the most serious crisis associated with mental ill health, and can affect people of all ages and from all walks of life. Nobody ever really knows how much someone else is hurting unless we talk to them. We could be standing next to somebody who is completely broken and we wouldn’t even know it.
The Office for National Statistics states that there were 6,507 suicides registered in the UK in 2018, three quarters of which were men. This is more than three and a half times greater than the 1,782 road deaths reported by the Department for Transport in the same year.
Most suicidal people don’t want to die, they simply can’t bear to live with the pain any longer. Perhaps it’s the stigma or shame that makes people try so hard to hide these feelings, and makes it even more difficult to tell anyone.
Although depression is a major risk factor, not everyone who attempts suicide is depressed. Other signs to watch out for include feelings of isolation, hopelessness, anxiety and anger, along with health and financial worries.
The crisis that we are all experiencing at the moment already includes many of these factors, so I worry that COVID-19 is not the only killer stalking us.
Negative coping mechanisms such as increased use of alcohol or drugs, and other risky behaviours, can also increase the likelihood that someone will complete suicide.
Suicide is preventable
Everyone who experiences these feelings has a different story to tell, a unique combination of life events and emotions. One of the best things we can do is talk about it, but when you’re in that darkness it doesn’t feel like anyone wants to listen, and it takes a lot of courage to reach out.
Your kindness and concern can go a long way, and asking someone about suicide will allow them to talk about their pain and problems, which may reduce their anxiety and help them to feel less lonely or isolated.
This is a poem by Elly Lloyd:
one moment in time
i walked to the edge
and then i came back
If you ever find yourself at that edge, please remember that there is hope, and you can come back. Reach out and talk to someone about how you’re feeling, and take a step back… then another… and another…
Take care and be safe.
Next time: Hope…
If you need support with suicidal thoughts or feelings, please contact the Samaritans, 24/7, on 116 123