Monthly Archives: September 2019

World Suicide Prevention Day 2019

businessman sittingWorld Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD),  runs on the 10 September and is set by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). where the World Health Organisation also sponsor the day. The theme for 2019 is called Working Together to Prevent Suicide.

The WHO and IASP also work with governments and other partners to ensure that suicide is no longer stigmatized, criminalized or penalized.

However one of their main aims is to raise awareness of the risks of suicide and to fund suicide prevention schemes.

I took some time to look at some stats on suicide and was amazed to know that a person dies every 40 seconds by suicide and up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt.  Suicide is also among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages.  The WHO refers the widest number of suicides occur in the age group 15 – 29.

If you would like to check out my awareness video on world suicide prevention day, please play the video below.

Who are the UK organisations?

Since world Suicide prevention day is a global movement, what is happening in the UK?

There are many in the UK helping to battle against suicide and raise awareness. From Rethink Mental Illness, Mind, Network Rail, NHS England, Probation Service, Samaritans, Heads Together, Grassroots suicide prevention, Healthwatch, Mates in Mind and PAPYRUS (helping young people against suicide) Plus many more.

For the UK there is the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) is a cross-sector, England-wide coalition working reduce suicide in England. You can even sign up to be a member, its free.

Home

Some Facts about suicide

The main suicide triggers are poverty, unemployment, the loss of a loved one, arguments and legal or work-related problems. Plus triggers can form from difficulties with developing one’s identity especially Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people who come from families that reject or do not accept them.

Arguments.

We also have isolation from the community, bullying and racism in society with far too few trying to tackle the causes leading to a spike in suicide levels. We also have relationship breakdown and divorce as a leading cause especially in older adults who find there is lack of support after a relationship has finished.

Talking about community basically suicide is a community issue and is everyone’s business. No one should suffer alone and together people can fight suicide and reach out to others when they are in need. Everyone has something to contribute no matter how large or small.

With mental health, those suffering depression are at high risk of suicidal behaviours, but at the same time how can someone with depression know they are at risk?

My thoughts on suicide prevention

From Sociologists, health professionals and Economists to researchers they all have a large part to play in understanding suicide as social pressures place a lot of strain on people to trigger suicide.

We all have a part to play in tackling suicide. Unfortunately suicide is still a taboo subject and can be rather complex in the community. You just cannot look into someone’s mind and have an idea that they are at risk, people need to listen, but those at risk need to need to talk (although be choosy on who you talk to).

As a male, I am certainly aware and have experienced situations on why men are more likely to take their life. I feel some men are very competitive and often see opportunities to get the better of everyone. There is no problem with competition, but it can be an issue if someone feels opening up is weak or bringing others down is strong. As with women, they are often more likely to talk about their situation, while men might just deal with it until it might reach breaking point.

Families and carers

Families and carers can be just at risk, especially after a loved one has taken their life. People who have been bereaved by suicide can be at greater risk of taking their own lives. It is important to try talk to someone, especially someone close who will take the time to listen to you. There is always hope, even if the mind is in a place where it feels no one is listening.

Certainly seek out support and awareness groups. There is a site called Support after suicide which is at https://supportaftersuicide.org.uk

How can you help?

On World Suicide Prevention I am involved as a carer member on a suicide prevention steering group at my local mental health trust.  We are launching our Suicide prevention strategy soon and there will be an exciting conference on the day.

Even though my background is more on family and carer engagement, there is always room to learn and connect with those who have been affected by suicide.

If you are also thinking about being involved, here are some suggestions I could offer.

  • Blog, write and learn about suicide prevention..
  • Help reduce stigma on mental health and the after affects of suicide.
  • Try educate yourself about suicide prevention since a number of local events will be on during the day.
  • Be kind.
  • If suffering from suicidal thoughts, seek help.

Other places to seek help

Samaritans: 116 123 (free, for everyone, 24/7)
CALM: 0800 585858 (free, for men, 5pm-midnight)
PAPYRUS: 0800 968 4141

 

Service User Advocacy Exhibition

Thanks for stopping by at another carer blog post. I thought to quickly drum up a page on my latest visit to the Bethlem’s Museum of the mind. I was excited to be part of their new exhibition “Impatient! Stories of Service User Advocacy”.

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The exhibition which is over at the Bethlem Museum just inside the Bethlem Royal Hospital, celebrates the history of Service User advocacy. There is history on how the groups and organisations projected their causes and how they relate to psychiatry. I felt that sometimes when it comes to NHS exhibitions they tend to promote much of what has taken place in the hospitals, but showing what the community or inpatients have done, can give more of a holistic picture.

I was privileged to be shown how so many advocacy groups helped in their own cause from Dragon Cafe over in Southwark, to CoolTan Arts which was based also in Southwark. It was great to see Michelle Barrier’s work who was the CEO of cooltan sometime ago. We also had contributions from HearUs Croydon, speak out against psychiatry, Service User Involvement in Training and Education, Dolly Sen and many more.

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On that Saturday when the exhibition first opened to the public, I wandered around the Bethlem Gallery to see many of the exhibits and reflected on how those advocacy groups have made a difference to patients lives. Also on the day was a talk from Nathan Filer author of the books The Shock of the Fall.

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Nathan was there to talk about his new book The HeartLand, which from his website is a collection of personal stories and essays about madness and its meanings. His talk was on how he used to work in a hospital, which led him to become more involved in mental health nursing. Many of the questions from the audience were challenging and well thought out.

You can find out more about Nathan Filer from his website

https://www.nathanfiler.co.uk/

I then visited the rest of he museum which had an impressive display of the history of the Maudsley and about Bedlem. I event visited the boardroom. which showed the picture of Queen Mary who visited one of the wards around 1930. Queen Mary eventually became the President of Bethlem.

You can find out more about the boardroom in the museum below.

https://museumofthemind.org.uk/blog/just-visiting-queen-mary

The rest of the day I spent going through the sections and displays from advocacy groups, I am sorry if I missed any since there was so many. As mentioned, I feel that patients can have a very difficult time getting their voice heard. Even when unwell, it is so important that some have the strength to form a group or network and try to have that voice. There are problems with psychology and psychiatry, especially with medications and policies from the government. Some of those things are just a small reason why the service user advocacy groups have formed and need to stay in place.

Some groups help to support the mental health system, while others are against. Some advocacy groups help to untangle the maze of the mental health system, while other advocacy groups work towards creativity and expression. The history of advocacy groups is very rich and I feel this is just a start of the celebration of service user voices and protests.

I was also glad to chip into the exhibition due to my involvement with Service User Involvement In Training and Education (SUITE), basically SUITE allows patients and unpaid carers to have the power to be involved in training NHS staff, develop courses and educate others on their experiences. The Museum kindly took my views and included me along with other members of SUITE in a video exhibition.

I have also noticed that on the day, some NHS staff from South London and Maudsley took time off their weekend to visit the exhibition including the Chief Operating Officer.

I would like to thank the organisers and the Bethlem Museum and Bethlem Gallery for including service users and carers in the rich history of mental health.

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The exhibition runs from 7 September 2019 to the 4 January 2020

Thanks for stopping by.