I've been trying hard over the last few days to get this post written but I was struggling to find the right words. I've lost two lovely friends in the past year to suicide, both male and both gone far too soon, one of which sadly took his own life just last week.
I'm no stranger to Mental Health issues or indeed Suicide, I'm 31 and have tried to end my own life twice, once when I was 16 and again when I was 21. I'm incredibly grateful that I failed and that I got to live another day, in both instances I regretted my actions as soon as I took them.
I've noticed in the news and on social media that suicide rates in men are on the rise and it got me thinking as to why this is. Our society as a whole tends to view Mental Health as this big taboo that we shouldn't open up about, especially not if you're male. Men I guess grow up with the belief that they're supposed to be strong, they aren't meant to cry and good god they should definitely not talk about their feelings. Sadly I can't help but wish my lovely friend had reached out and openly talked about his struggles before hanging himself.
DID YOU KNOW:
- There are roughly more than 6,000 suicides in the UK each year
- Suicide is the main cause of death in people aged between 20 and 34 in the UK
- Those that are at a higher risk are Men aged between 40 and 44 years old
- Statistics show that 72% of people who had committed suicide between 2002 and 2012 had not been in touch with their GP in regards to how they were feeling.
- Men are more likely to commit suicide as they are less likely to seek help in regards to how they are feeling compared to Women.
- These insights simply show that more needs to be done to end the stigma attached to Mental Health issues.
For a deeper look at the above facts click on the following link:
I think more needs to be done in ending the stigma surrounding Mental Health and perhaps then people wouldn't feel the need to hide their pain away and turn it inwards on themselves.
The 'Time To Change' movement run by 'Mind' and 'Rethink Mental Illness' has been working tirelessly since 2007 to bridge the gap between sufferers of Mental Illness and their friends/family/co workers. Their current campaign entitled 'It's The Small Things' is trying to encourage people to share the little things they've done to help or support friends or family suffering from a mental health condition. Follow the link below for more information.
Obviously there are hundreds of different factors that can lead to someone wanting to end their own life, however the main one is linked to underlying mental health issues.
If you're worried about a loved one and you fear that they may try to end their lives then I urge you to reach out to them, show them that you care, that you will listen to them, help them to understand that they aren't alone and that life can and will get better. The following link is to an incredibly insightful list of Suicide warning signs from the Health Guidance website. A couple of things to look out for are previous Suicide attempts and a change in their behaviour.
And, if you are someone who is debating whether or not to continue living then please seek help, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or reach out to a friend or family member, you may feel hopelessly alone but I promise you that there are people out there who love you. Hold on. Please.
In loving memory of Andy and Jamie....