We all need to talk about suicide.
The judgement, the stigma and the silence need to change, and I want to address a few ways we can do so.
After the amazing response from my article ‘Why Men Kill Themselves’ I thought this feature would make a good follow up, pushing on from the awareness it’s already raised.
With 650 shares, 94,338 people reached and an overwhelming amount of comments and messages, I’m so inspired to continue my journey to break the silence of suicide.
But how can you help?
Share Your Story (Or Mine)
Have you ever suffered with deep depression, contemplating suicide?
Have you ever attempted to take your own life?
Have you been affected by someone close to you committing suicide?
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of those questions, you can help but speaking out.
After I lost my Dad to suicide it took me 6 years to realise how my story could help others.
‘If I could share my story and help just one person’ I’d be happy’…
When I did the response I received was mind blowing, and people around me who I thought would judge started to message me their stories and how they were affected too by suicide and depression.
The more we can openly speak about it, the better.
Share your story and your opinions with your friends, your family, post them on social media, comment them below or maybe you know someone who can give you a platform to reach a wider audience?
Even if you just tell one person today it could have an impact.
The more we talk about it, the more people will think about it, and the more people will do about it…
Start by sharing your story in the comments below, or share my story:
Share The Facts
Factual information makes everybody listen more.
Lets openly share the facts with others…
‘Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45’ – Not road accidents, alcoholism or drugs…
‘A man will take his own life every 2 hours in the UK’ – That’s right, every 2 hours a man will die from suicide.
‘Over one million people die from suicide each year’ – A worldwide statistic, there’s over a million suicides each year.
‘Global suicide rates have increased 60% in the past 45 years’ – This figure is increasing year on year.
‘In the UK, 76% of all suicides were men’ – The rate for women is slowly decreasing, with the rate for men rising rapidly.
‘Somewhere in the world, someone will die from suicide every 40 seconds’ – Wow, on average one person dies from suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world.
Surely these facts will get people talking?
Speak About It
Mental illness isn’t a character flaw.
Suffering with depression doesn’t make you weak.
Talking about it is one of the hardest, and strongest things anyone can do…
The more we start to talk about depression, the more we talk about suicide, the easier it will become.
The reason people won’t talk and the reason people find it hard to open up is all down to the way we approach mental illness.
We don’t know what questions to ask, we don’t know how to deal with it, we struggle to deal with our own emotions let alone believe we can help someone else.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple question, an interest into how someone is feeling.
Men of course find it harder to talk about feelings and emotions…
We’d rather talk about the football last night or those girls at the bar.
But support from a friend, a family member and a co-worker are at the forefront of suicide prevention.
We need to talk about our own experiences alongside showing more interest in others to help them talk about theirs.
Educate From Above
What are the government doing to help break the stigma around mental health?
What are the health system doing?
How are the police force, firefighters and doctors being educated on dealing with mental health?
What do the media do to help educate others and break the stigma around mental health?
What training do corporate companies have in place to help employees deal with stress, anxiety and depression?
What are Universities doing? Schools?
What are Celebrities and influential figures doing to help?
The real impact comes from above, and we will start to see big changes if mental health got treated and dealt with as it is (an illness).
All of the above have huge power to make change, and as things slowly shift I hope more action is taken.
Know It’s OK.
It’s ok to feel low…
It’s ok to be in a place so dark that suicide seems the only answer…
It’s ok to talk about it, to open up, you can (like so many others) deal with what you might be going through and come through stronger.
You’re not weak and no one will think you are if you open up to them.
Seriously it’s ok.
The quicker we drop the stigma that suicide and depression is a weakness, the faster people will realise that depression is ok.
It’s a vicious cycle…
We hit a deep depression and because of the stigma surrounding mental health we think we’re weak, we think we’re weird… these negative opinions of ourselves then have a damaging effect on our mind state pushing us closer to the edge of suicide.
What would happen if we knew we could overcome it?
What would happen if we knew it was ok to speak about it like so many others have?
Surely that vicious cycle would be broken?
There’s a lot of mental health charities doing what they can to spread awareness, so lend a helping hand and support them.
From offering support to people contemplating suicide to running campaigns to help break the silence, the more support we can give them to more they can do.
Donate money, volunteer, raise money doing something outside of your comfort zone…
Whatever support you can give will help make change.
Here are a few I’m fond of…
CALM – https://www.thecalmzone.net/
PAPYRUS – https://www.papyrus-uk.org/
Rethink Mental Illness – https://www.rethink.org/
SANE – http://www.sane.org.uk/home
Mind – http://www.mind.org.uk/
Young Minds – http://www.youngminds.org.uk/
Samaritans – http://www.samaritans.org/
Combat Stress – http://www.combatstress.org.uk/
Student Minds – http://www.studentminds.org.uk/
Collaborate With Others
Lets come together and help break the silence together.
Without doubt every person who reads this article would have been affected by depression and suicide in some way. If you’re not, I’m sure you know someone who is.
It’s extremely common, just look at the facts, so let’s get together and help break the stigma.
Team up with friends to raise money for a charity, share your story with others, collaborate with your work to try and help educate other co-workers on dealing with mental illness, show people how they can get help…
Do you know a news reporter? Someone with an influence on social media? Do you know a TV producer? A film maker?
The more we can collaborate, the better things will become.
I’m going to keep pushing my story and my message in the aim to help others, so why not collaborate with me and share this post (and others on this blog).
Lets End The Silence
The facts are there for people to see, it’s time to make change.
If you resonate with this article share it, and do what you can to help break the silence around mental health and suicide.
Share you stories below in the comments, and don’t forget to reach out. (I reply to everyone!)