World suicide prevention day 2016

World Globe Maps

Welcome to another one of my blog posts. This blog post is helping to raise awareness of World Suicide Prevention Day. I am not going to pull any punches, suicide can be one of the most devastating things to happen to anyone, not just the person taking the action, but also their families, especially those who are trying to care for something going through mental torment or mental health issues.

World Suicide Prevention Day happens on the 10th of September every year. It is championed by The International Association for Suicide Prevention of (IASP) and also the World Health Organization otherwise known as (WHO). IASP helps to raise awareness on the following.

– Preventing suicidal behaviour.
– Alleviating its effects.
– Providing a forum for those affected and also researching suicide.

2016_wspd_banner_english

The first World Suicide Prevention Day was held in 2003 and was an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).

For those who wish to watch my video on the subject of Suicide Awareness and Prevention, please click on the video below.

There are many organisations and charities around the world campaigning to raise awareness of suicide prevention, although I cannot name them all, in the UK we have The Samaritans, CALM, Grassroots suicide prevention, Papyrus on prevention of Young Suicide, mental health organisations like Mind, Rethink and more.

The statistics for suicide prevention is basically one of the leading causes for such an awareness event. In the UK since 2016 is not over at the time of this post, a lot of stats are taken from 2014, so there is at least a clearer picture regarding suicide behaviour overall.

The stats and other bits of info I am interested in are the following and I ll mention why in just a bit.

– There were 6,581 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland, in 2014.
– The highest suicide rate in the UK in 2014 was for men aged 45-49 at
26.5 per 100,000.
– Men remain more than three times more likely to take their own lives than
women across the UK and Republic of Ireland, although there seems to be a trend where female suicide rates are increasing.
– Although not a statistic, Prince William has urged men to “stop feeling so strong” and openly talk about their issues “before it’s too late”
– According to the charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) suicide is the biggest single killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.

The statistics

As mentioned before, one of the reasons for such an awareness day is because one suicide alone is such a tragedy, but every year we have around 1 million suicides around the globe. With that number alone, we have a duty to challenge the problem of suicides and one way to do this is via a special awareness day, some countries actually have a whole week dedicated to the cause.

Family

Group of people together holding hands

Raising awareness cannot just be the only answer, but it is a start, we need education, involvement with suicide survivors, practical policies that help reduce suicides and government initiatives. If of course suicides were to completely come to a halt, then there would be no need for such an awareness event, until then it is critical we keep raising the issue, until we are almost blue in the face.

Male suicide

Although in 2014, it was recorded the number of suicides for men aged 45-49 was 26.5 per 100,000. This is still far too high and in 2016 it has estimated to have dropped, but the issues are men due to perhaps some of the following e.g.

– Not speaking up
– feeling they need to be strong
– Being misinformed
– Not being supported
– Shutting themselves away

The above points can all contribute to a higher risk of them taking their lives. Unfortunately for males, it can and should no longer be a side issue. Suicidal thoughts or behaviours can strike quickly, especially if we are not prepared for it. I am not saying we should just focus on male suicide, it is immensely important to focus on female and also LGBT suicides, but it still seems certain behaviors amongst the male population makes them prone to suicidal behaviors.

He is right!!!!

People might wonder why on earth Prince William is talking about suicide prevention, I mean, he is not a suicide survivor, plus people might feel his life seems pretty good and maybe far removed from the harshness of those exposed to depressing situations. Others wonder if Prince William should even speak on mental health issues and I am sure there are all other reasons related to royalty and privilege.

However there is just one big point Prince William has against such queries…..

Prince William is right!

Men should try to stop having to feel strong all the time, we males need to avoid that behaviour where we need to hide our feelings, but I do agree that society at present can sometimes take advantage of men who open up. Sometimes men can be their own worst enemy especially when one man cries about his torment, his mates would either laugh or make fun out of him. Such behaviour will cause other men to think twice about opening up to anyone as a self defense mechanism.

There is such a long way to go before men will open up and wish to talk about how they feel.

Prince William is also correct that men need to talk more about their situation, although it not as easy as it seems as men are not the most talkative perhaps due to biological, cultural and learnt factors. However, talking is just the start of focusing on what is bothering us and getting it out of our system, but it does take someone to listen!!

Biggest killer

Many charities and organisations have popped up in order to challenge what is deemed the biggest single killer of men aged 20 – 45 in the UK. One of them is Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). It makes some sense, men can lead miserable lives and somehow they keep this all in, as if they are expected to do so, all their lives until one day, something gives, something breaks, whatever hits a man can become his killer.

Somehow It must be learnt that men do not always have to talk the hard blows of life, perhaps its education, perhaps a movement, but the tragedy is that too many men have taken their life due not being supported, misunderstandings and feeling that suicide was the only option. Of course we should not underestimate the power of suicidal feelings, they can be overwhelming, but if there was that something that makes us think for a split second rather than throwing it all away, that difference could save a life and who knows what tomorrow may bring?

What happened on the day?

So apart from writing this blog post, what did I manage to do on World Suicide Prevention Day 2016? I was planning to actually go to an event, but instead I decided to visit a friend over in Harrow. As I walked around town, I kept wondering that I was running out of time to help promote something, but luck was in for me that day.

It was not long before I was approached by a Samaritan, I did not know it as the time, but I thought this person was asking me to donate to something, but the more I listened to them, the more I knew they were preaching to the converted.

Eventually I walked up to the stall and spoke to several kind Samaritans. I could easily tell by the way they spoke and acted that they were Samaritans although the green shirts were a give away.

20160910_121748

Every word spoken from them was positive and nothing was kept away from me. I even was introduced to Mind in Harrow.

20160910_121804

Unfortunately I could not stay long, but we did swap details and I was given a number of things as shown by the gallery below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

– As noted in the galley we have one item, which is a card that nearly fits into the pocket, even if there is just a thought of suicidal behaviour, it can help if the person reaches into their pocket just to glimpse at the card.

– We also have a travel holder as it is well known that to get to a certain destination, we need to travel, if we can again glimpse at the travel card holder, it might just change our minds, notice the text on the travel card holder.

– One of the cards turns into an easily readable booklet, which is worth reading.

– Due to the nature of my business e.g. involvement in mental health services, there are times when I come across someone who is on the edge. Due to the discussions with the Samaritans over in Harrow, they gave me a large number of cards, so I could give one away every so often.

Overall world suicide prevention day 2016 turned out ok, but it would turn out even greater if we all can tackle to problem of suicides that take so many loved ones world wide.

If feeling suicidal please read below

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

quote2

The carers story

smallerWelcome to another carer blog post. My blog site works to raise the awareness of mental health carers, that being unpaid carers/caregivers looking after or supporting someone suffering mental distress. The website also tries to raise awareness of mental health, charities and their events.

So this time i want to focus how important it is to take time to listen to carers stories. Listening to how a person became a carer can allow us to relate on a certain level regarding their caring journey. Obviously there is no way a person can relate 100% to any carer, only at a certain level as in sympathizing or recognizing a carer when you see someone in a stressful caring situation.

We cannot just relate to a young carer unless we are young ourselves, or perhaps a BME carer unless we are in within that category, but it is important to hear what a carer says due to a number of reasons.

Training

I have told my story as a carer a few times in order to help NHS staff understand what a carers role is, this can apply to social workers, psychiatrists and all manner of healthcare staff. I have even told my carers story to students at universities, after all it is one of the best ways to learn about carers when you are doing a course in psychiatry or nursing.

blurred  Business Conference and Presentation. Audience in the conference hall. Business and Entrepreneurship.

Abstract blurred conference showing carer speaking

Recognising carers cannot always be done as a text book case, it does no harm to have a carer in not just to tell their story, but also to answer questions e.g.

* How did they became a carer?
* How did caring affect them?
* Did they get enough support?
* What do you think can help staff support you more?
and so on….

There are times when managers and those higher up in the change of the NHS do not even have contact with carers and it is advisable they hear carers stories so they can then realize the effect their decisions could make to those on the front line.

Lastly hearing a carer’s story should not be a tick box exercise, there should always be time to hear from a carer later on during someones carer in the health or social services. Other carers can also learn from carers stories because they can at least get some tips and ask important questions.

Relating to carers

As mentioned before, other carers can relate to a carer tell others about how they came into such a role. Hearing from another carer can reduce the stigma in which so many carers out there suffer from. If you are not sure what I mean by stigma, consider the following points.

* People can judge carers as lazy because they cant always go to work, while they are caring.
* Mental Health carers can feel stigma of people talking about their loved one.
* Mental health carers can also be judged as causing mental health problems in the family, which unfortunately is a difficult issue to crack within psychiatry.
* Carers are also blamed for even trying to support their loved ones, many are asked questions as why they sacrifice so much for someone they care about.

Once a carer tells their story about their caring journey to other carers, it gives the carer some form of release. This is because there can be acknowledgement that people and other carers are at least playing some attention to the difficult circumstances that is affecting someones life. Telling your story as a carer can allow people to witness how the caring role has affected you. Other carers can also relate, understand and allow some sympathy as they recognize the signs a carer goes through.

Information

I was actually going to label this section as knowledge, but there are a few problems when it comes to getting knowledge about carers when hearing their story. When you get to hear a carer express their situation, it is true you can get information, but information is of little use if you do not apply it to your role e.g. a nurse, health manager, social worker and so on.

We can understand how someone became a carer to a certain degree, we can all congratulate a carer for getting so far in their role, we can even thank the carer for getting the time to help us understand their role, but unless this information turns into action where we recognize carers very quickly, or are able to listen to carers in our roles, then such carer information will be harder to turn into knowledge about carers.

Hearing a carers story can highlight problem areas within the health and social care field. When listening to carers, each story is different and carries their own unique aspect. It is up to the audience to take that information and apply it to their field. Hearing a carers story should not just be a routine, it should be an opportunity to make a difference.

Uplifting

Its not all about learning, sometimes hearing a persons story on how they fought for and continue to fight for their family or loved one can be uplifting. It shows how important our own families are, we might even pay more attention to our own loved ones. Our communities can sometimes be pressured into not caring about others, sometimes it is just hard to relate to anyone else but ourselves. So hearing how someone put their all into caring about their family can be uplifting and inspire us to become more caring about those close to us.

Spread the message

We can only listen so much, there must come a time when we must spread the message, I am not talking about gossiping about the carer or breaching confidentiality rights. Those who work in the National Health Service has some duty to raise carer issues. Did that carer story highlight a problem with being recognized as a carer? Did their story show the lack of engagement with carers? Perhaps the carers story showed how difficult it is for carers to be assessed. We need to help spread the message to other health carer staff so in order they can understand and recognize carers.

Involving.

Allowing a carer to speak about their story can give them empowerment, its so difficult for a carer to keep the pain and concern all inside, just as it would be for someone going through using mental health services, we are all people at the end of he day and hearing a carer story should not be the only role for carer involvement, carers should be given the chance to give views on health and social care changes, attend training sessions with staff and engage with NHS and social care staff.  Carers are part of the community, if we shut carers out, then we risk shutting the community out.

Good luck with your caring journey.

image

De Frene Summer Festival 2016

Welcome to another blog post from Acaringmind blogger Matthew Mckenzie. On Saturday 20th of August, I took a trip over to Sydenham Gardens who were hosting their De Frene Summer Festival from 1 till 5 pm.

20160820_135123

Continue reading

A celebration of Peer Support

10177241_747738765268892_5890142387668348507_n

Welcome to another blog post from mental health carer Matthew Mckenzie. On this blog I want to raise awareness of peer support. As you know Carers struggle to provide support and care for those suffering mental health distress.  We also can have psychiatrists, care coordinators and therapists who may feel distant from those going through a difficult time.

Continue reading

Volunteering as a carer

coverWelcome to another blog post from mental health carer in South London Matthew Mckenzie. Now as you can guess from my blogsite, I keep myself fairly busy, even though I am carrying out support and care for a loved one. Throughout my years of experience as a mental health carer, I know there are many things I can share in order to help others. Most of the time I give my views at meetings, focus groups or committees. So if there is a way I can help, I will certainly give it a try.

Continue reading

Carer involvement

Thanks for popping along to read another of my carer blog posts. Aren’t we lucky today, just this morning I had released a blog post about sociology and now I am blogging again regarding carer involvement.

As of this morning I am a carer governor of my local trust, that trust being NHS South London and Maudsley, I am also a carer representative at that trust and fairly active in the communities as I set on many forums and groups. Why do I do all this you may wonder? Well read on and I hope to get the message across.

Continue reading

Historic contributions to Sociology

 

20140621_215858

Welcome to another blog post from carer Matthew Mckenzie. As you might have already know by now, my blog site is basically about mental health carers and how they can cope in regards to supporting those suffering mental health issues. However there will be times when I will divert away from carer topics and move onto educational topics related to mental health.

 

Continue reading