The 10th of September marks the annual World Suicide Prevention day. This day is about raising awareness, supporting those in need and learning more about the causes and some prevention methods of suicide.
I thought this would be a perfect ‘hot topic’ post for the month of September, as well as a comeback post for my blog – (a little later than expected but life got in the way!)
In this post I will be speaking from personal experience and, as oppose to offering tips or advice, I will just be speaking about suicide and why it is so important to raise awareness. Whilst potentially quite heavy, I hope this blog post will inspire you to learn more about suicide prevention and raise awareness in your own way!
The Facts 💜
According to the Samaritans website, suicide rates in the UK have increased by 3.8% since 2014 and there have been over 6600 suicides in the UK and ROI in 2017 alone. Unsurprisingly, female suicide rates are at their highest in a decade, and I believe this is due to the immense pressure placed on women to meet societal expectations, which can negatively impact mental health and wellbeing. (I will be writing a separate ‘hot topic’ post about this in the very near future!). Other trends suggest that male suicide rates are higher than women’s, with the highest rates being men aged between 45 and 54.
Unfortunately, these statistics suggest that suicide is becoming a more common cause of death, so there is no time like the present to start raising awareness and learning about prevention strategies.
Where to go from here 💜
There is so much stigma attached around the word ‘suicide’ and people are very scared to talk about it. This is partly because it makes people feel very upset and uncomfortable. Many people also think that suicide is a selfish act, and often put blame onto the person who has taken their life or feels suicidal.
I’m not saying that anyone in particular is to blame, and I don’t deny that suicide is an uncomfortable topic, however we have to talk about things that make us uncomfortable in order for them to change. No, I don’t think that talking about suicide will stop it from happening completely, but learning more about mental health, depression and self harm could help to prevent someone from taking their life in the future.
Resentment towards a person who is suicidal is also a very unhelpful response. Yes, it can be difficult to understand why someone would wish to take their own life, especially if what you see is a happy person with an amazing family and a great job, however things are not always as they seem. You do not know what is going on behind closed doors, what that person is thinking and feeling, and how they are coping with negativity or bad luck in their life.
What this person needs is support. If they are suicidal and have unsuccessfully attempted to take their own life, do not show anger towards them. Show them love, support and respect and perhaps suggest places where they could get help. Spend time with them and their family, give them a phone call or text everyday to check in. Any kind of positive response/attitude is going to be a lot more beneficial than showing resentment or any negative feelings towards the person. In the same vein, if a person you know has regrettably taken their own life, show support to their family members, even if they can’t understand ‘why’. Educate the people around you to be more respectful and understanding of the deceased person and teach others how they can help families who are going through the same thing.
My main point is to talk about suicide with people who have had first hand experience of it. Don’t avoid these people for months in case that ‘uncomfortable’ topic of conversation comes up, and don’t tred on eggshells around them. At this point in their lives they will need the most support they can get, and the best way to offer it is to try and understand what they have gone/are going through.
As mentioned in all my posts, I am not a mental health professional and I can only speak from experience and what I have learnt throughout my life.
Below I will link some websites which offer some more information on suicide, and most importantly the warning signs. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please speak to your GP and seek support from friends and family. Even if you tell just one person who is close to you, they will be able to help you and offer you support and advice.
I may speak about my own personal experience with depression and suicide in a separate post in the future, however there was a point in my life where I felt as though I no longer wanted to go on and I couldn’t see a future past 18 years old. I have recently just celebrated my 21st birthday, I am in my third year of University and I am so happy to be alive! This is thanks to surrounding myself with positive, amazing people who have helped me get through tough times and realise life really is worth living!
Try stepping out of your comfort zone on the 10th September and help raise awareness about suicide prevention, both online and with your voice.
http://www.prevent-suicide.org.uk/index.html (Grassroots is an incredible charity who are getting people talking about suicide and are working towards prevention. Please have a browse through their website as there is so much valuable information and great projects you can get involved in!)