Monday, 22 May 2017

Trigger warning: Suicide

There are many lists floating around the internet of signs to look out for to help prevent suicide. There are also many lists telling you what you can do. The truth of the matter is, there often aren't any signs. How many articles have you read about a person who died by suicide that include the phrase "we had no idea they were struggling"?

Suicide does not come with a warning sign. People contemplating suicide often won't talk about it. In fact, they may appear to be the happiest person you know. 

Furthermore, you are NOT obliged to help someone in distress. I have spoken at length about this because it needs to be said. You are not responsible for anyone's life but your own and your offspring. There is no "right thing" to do. I hear it all the time, people saying "If only I had checked in more often..." or "I should have invited them out..." etc. People with mental health issues are experts at hiding their struggles. They have to be. I know that this may be a difficult pill to swallow but suicide is often not planned, it can be spontaneous and sometimes accidental. 

Just over a year ago, someone I went to school with completed suicide. She had struggled with her mental health and she had been failed by the system. She had been hospitalised on numerous occasions having attempted to complete suicide and she was not given the care she so desperately needed.

If you really want to help prevent deaths by suicide, contact your local MPs. Demand to know what they are doing to increase support for vulnerable people. If you get nothing from your local MP, take it further. Write to the prime minister herself, the address is freely available on the internet. Volunteer for mental health charities. Funding is being reduced left, right and centre and volunteer run services are struggling.

If someone close to you does die by suicide, it is important that you do not shoulder the blame.

If you wish to share this, please do so.

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