Today, September 10th, marks World Suicide prevention day. Why is there a need for such a day? Well unfortunately suicide is still a massive issue in all parts of the world. Statistics released by the ONS on 1st September showed that in 2019 thee were around 5691 suicides in the UK – 4,3030 men and 1,388 women. The good news is that this is less than 2018 where 6,507 people died by suicide in the UK.
Suicide is still, I feel, a taboo subject, people are scared to talk about it and there is still stigma surrounding people who have completed suicide. It is so so so much better than it used to be, I mean at least it isn’t a crime anymore!!!! However, there is still a long way to go. I do wonder that if we are able to break that stigma down there will be less suicides as, with less stigma, I believe people will feel more able to reach out and really talk about how they are feeling and the suicidal thoughts/feelings they have been having.
I wonder if starting to alter the language we use will have an impact, in most suicide training these days this has already started. For example We still say committed suicide which itself adds to the stigma – suicide is no longer a crime, it hasn’t been since 1961 – using committed implies a crime has been carried out, carrying stigma, using language such as completed suicide or died by suicide is, I feel, much more appropriate to where we are today.
If you are worried about someone ask them! So many times people don’t ask because there is a myth that by asking ‘are you thinking about suicide?’ (or something to that effect) think that will maybe give the person the idea or solidify any ideas they may have already – this is NOT TRUE. Asking could be the one thing that person needs to open the door to talk about it. If someone says they are considering it be there for them, listen and don’t panic!! There are so many different support agencies out there now you can point them in that direction, just let them know you are there for them. For more information see https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/if-youre-worried-about-someone-else/how-support-someone-youre-worried-about/
If you are having suicidal thoughts/feelings please please reach out and talk to someone, friends, family, your GP, a counsellor or one of the many support agencies there are these days and make a safety plan (see below). You are not alone, you matter and I want you to be here.
Here are some resources to help;
· https://stayingsafe.net/ - is a great website that can provide guidance and help on how to make a safety plan and how to keep yourself safe when you feel you are at risk of harming yourself –
· https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-symptoms/suicidal-thoughts-how-to-cope/ - more information on how to cope with suicidal thoughts/feelings
· https://www.papyrus-uk.org/ - Suicide support for people under 35 Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 9am to 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 2pm to 10pm Text 07860 039967 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
· https://www.childline.org.uk/ - for children and young people - Call 0800 1111
· Call 111 – call 111 and they will be able to point you in the direction of support in your area
· Call 999 - if you are in immediate danger, even if that danger is yourself
· https://uksobs.org/ - is an agency that provides support to people who have lost someone to suicide