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