World Suicide Prevention Day 2015

WARNING This really long post may contain triggers with experiences some readers might find distressing. All opinions and thoughts are my own and I apologise for any upset this may cause.
Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives

Today marks the 12th annual World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) with this year’s theme and call to action being Reaching Out & Saving Lives. Over 800,000 people die by suicide across the world each year according to the latest WHO studies but still this report can only be an estimate with the information they are given. It is most likely to be a higher number due to the stigmas associated with suicide, be that due to religion or culture or simply down to lack of reliable death recording procedures. But 800.000 people is a lot of people. A lot of women. A lot of men. A lot of children. Looking at my screen right now at those figures makes me feel sick because in a perfect world there wouldn’t even be a number.
Reaching out to those at risk of suicide
I think the theme this year is probably one of the most relevant in our society right now in order to help break the stigma around talking about suicide. It can educate us all to consider the idea that offering even the smallest amount of support to an individual can help to be a preventative to suicide. For someone to feel so low & lost with the emotional torment it can play on one’s mind is frightening enough without having to speak up about the way they feel. If we could try to talk and more importantly listen to a vulnerable individuals concerns with our non-judgy pants and hat on could very well be a turning point in that person life and could be incredibly life changing.
Reaching out to those who have been bereaved by suicide
“People die all the time” is far from the attitude we should have. We are a world of billions and yet everyone single person on this planet has at least two things in common: we are born and one day we shall die. It’s a bleak notion but true. For every one of the estimated 800.000 was a child, perhaps they were a parent, a brother or a sister but they were someone’s loved one. We need to be able to talk about death without the fear of stigma because the deceased loved ones need our support. It can be devastating to families and friends who are left behind. Losing anyone in life is heart-breaking but more often than not the bereaved of suicide may feel as if they are to blame and become isolated in thoughts of grief & guilt, feeling as if they ‘should have recognised the signs’. Reach out to those who have lost; it’s important for them to not feel alone.
Reaching out to put people in touch with relevant services
In a majority of cases the support from loved ones and the community can be crucial for helping individuals at risk of suicide and also for people who have lost someone to suicide. Sometimes this is not enough. We need to help educate the world on their local services available to them in time of crisis whether this be a medical intervention, a talking therapy, a support group or even just a phone number somebody could use when they just need to talk to someone impartial. Would you know where to look for support? If not then today is the perfect time to find out what services are near you. I would hope that you never needed to use them but the information could be so important at one point in your life.
Reaching out to the suicide prevention community
Around the globe there are hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals, hospital services and charities trying to help and get involved in efforts to prevent suicide. There are online communities with individuals seeking advice and support from their peers and suicide survivors. We have strength in numbers with everyone being able to learn new things from one and other. Call that friend that was down in the dumps, check in on the elderly lady that lives alone in the house at the end of the street, talk to your partner if they feel stressed about their workload. Let someone know you care. Smile to the stranger on the bus you might just make their day brighter. By getting involved in days like today we can raise awareness, break the taboo and SAVE LIVES.

If you are a relative or a friend of mine, someone I’ve met in passing or maybe if you simply read this blog or follow me of social media you might be wondering why this subject matter is so important to me and why I come across as passionate about awareness of preventing suicide.
Today is harsh and raw and real.
Suicide and suicide attempts are real. And I’ve seen it for myself. I’ve seen my sibling shout and cry at me whilst I try to coax them to get into an ambulance having tried to take their own life at school. I have seen the tears cried and the vomit across the A&E department floor whilst my sibling struggled to come to terms with their own emotions and consequences. I have seen the wires and the drips connected to their pale skin. I have watched nurses and doctors run around amongst the sounds of a busy hospital ward. I have talked and pleaded with doctors to know if my sibling will be OK whilst hoping that the mental health team could counsel them to feel whole again. I have seen the lack of information given to parents and guardians about preventing this situation again. I have seen the lack of support given.
I have seen my own mother cry in fear of losing her eldest child. I have seen the tired face and pain in her eyes has she took her child to hospital having overdosed at home. I have seen the panic and confusion amongst her peers as if to say ‘what would drive your child to try to take their life’ with the sighs of relief that it wasn’t their own child. I have seen the lack of emotional support given to her whilst she saw her child connected to machines and drips. I have seen the way she darts around the subject as to why her child has been hospitalised just relieved that they were still alive. I have seen the torment and rolling of the eyes because this is the second time in a year she has had to take her child to the hospital. She knows the drill she knows the routine. She knows the pain.
I’ve seen the pain, the torment, confusion and despair because I am her eldest child.
Over the last month I have seen the tears behind the eyes of my partner, the anger building within, the frustration at the lack of answers given to questions he’s asked, the panic spread across his face and sadness in his heart. I have sat there as he heard the news that I had lost another child. Another miscarriage. I have stood there as he hugged me tightly not loosening his grip as if it might be the last time he saw me. I have heard the questions of “are you sure you’re alright” and I told him I was fine. Fine was a lie. And he knew it. I have seen the defiance and leadership skills take place when I told him I didn’t want to keep fighting for my happy ending. That I was tired of fighting with my own mind and body, I didn’t want to be here anymore. I don’t think he slept that night. I saw the hourly messages on my phone as I went to the doctors and bravely as I could actually tell her what I’d told my partner the night before. I saw the relief in his eyes when he saw that I had support. I have seen his face brighten with every step I take to being my random self. I saw him smile when he learnt I was going to be okay, that I no longer needed the urgent support of the local crisis team and that I no longer was in need of preventative help.
And I smiled when I learnt that he could be supported too. We are happy that there are indeed now plenty of resources and support groups for those affected by suicide.

We’re breaking the taboo.
So please, if you do learn one thing from this blog post just know that you’re not alone regardless of your circumstance, there is support all over the world and together I honestly, really truly, believe we can save lives.
I know this because I’m still here.
Samaritans 08457 90 90 90 (UK 24-hour national help line)
( Big hugs and virtual kisses for my mum, sibling and my gorgeous caring partner for always being their best selves and supporting me)

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

26 thoughts on “World Suicide Prevention Day 2015

  1. Really brave post Carla, sharing all of this is what a day like today is about isn’t it. Everyone’s situation is different but sharing that things seem to have got too much, and a similar way of thinking can be all that someone needs to not feel so alone and helpless in their own situation.
    Sending you big hugs x

    1. Thank you for reading. If it can help save someone or even give someone the help in order to comfort someone that’s all I could ask for. I was up all night deciding whether to publish this post, I think I made the right call.
      Again, thank you

  2. An incredibly brave post, Carla. I’m proud you’re my friend and glad you’re still here. Sharing your story will show others it is ok to seek help, and that there is hope. I have no doubt your words will help save others’ lives. Much love xxx

    1. I’m proud to call you a friend too leigh. You’re very much so an inspiration to many people yourself. Xx

  3. Honest and brave. It takes such a lot of courage to tell people that you’re contemplating suicide, but it really is the first step to getting the help and support that is needed. Thank you for sharing, and in doing so, hopefully helping those in the depths of despair to reach out to someone, anyone, to access the support that is available.
    I hope it also helps those who are the families, friends and partners to those people who are struggling and ready to give up the fight. You’re proof that you should never give up!
    We should all keep fighting, for each other and to ensure that supportive provision is always available to everyone that needs it.

    1. I don’t think I could have put it better myself Ruthie, I honestly believe if people felt they could express their emotions without the stigma that figure would be much lower! Xxx

  4. Thank you for your post. I have been you, sitting in A&E while a nurse says she’s not going off shift until she knows I’ve agreed to treatment for an overdose. I’ve seen my Dad cry when he heard what I’d done. I’ve been there sitting staring at a wall waiting for the pain to stop. I’ve been there cutting myself just to see the blood flow as the small pain of it stops the larger pain just for a second.

    I’ve now been there laughing again, enjoying the sunshine. Smiling at small things. One baby step at a time, one day at a time. I’m not the same person I was before it happened, I think of it like an ornament that’s been broken and then glued back together, I may look almost the same apart from the scars from wrist to elbow on both arms, but I’m not quite the same. But I’m still here, and I can still laugh and smile. There is still light and laughter to be found.

    I don’t regret my dark time as it’s made me who I am now. I’m stronger and more empathetic to others. I still have dark days and weeks but I know I can reach the other side again.

    1. Thank you for such an honest comment. I have been in that position and sometimes it’s so hard to articulate how it feels to be in that position. I am so pleased to hear you are on the other side and in a happier place. Without people speaking up many will never realise the importance of how much we can support each other. I wish you a very sunshine filled day xxxxx

      1. Last year my manager told me that depression doesn’t exist, that doctors just give antidepressants to people to ‘shut them up and stop them bothering them’. That was one of the many reasons I left that job!

        Depression is real, and it’s dangerous. It’s poorly understood and feared. Can you imagine someone saying to a diabetic that they don’t need their insulin?! Depression is a chemical imbalance just like diabetes so why is it so stigmatised?

        One thing that I’m proud of is that I recognised when my husband was showing signs of depression (I met him after my recovery) and I managed to get him to seek treatment before he reached the dark places I’d been to. He’s now received counselling and is much better, but I fear that due to his support network – or lack of – it could have been much worse for him. He didn’t even dare to tell his employer why he was ill because of the fear of what they would think.

  5. A very important and honest post. I’m a mental health recovery worker and we are in serious crisis at the minute with lack of funding within the community etc. it’s so important that people recognise and understand mental illness as an illness, just as they would recognise and understand a physical illness. The taboo needs to end. #brilliantblogposts

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. It must be so difficult to work in your line of work without the funding that is so important to helping so many people

    2. I think of it like diabetes – we don’t produce enough ‘happy hormones’ so need to replace them. Imagine if a diabetic was told not to take their insulin! Why can’t people look at depression the same way, I have known a few people who don’t think it even exists. With that attitude it’s no wonder that the support isn’t out there.

      I was hospitalised for 2 months and when discharged received weekly counselling but that wasn’t enough – there just isn’t enough support there and the waiting lists for mental health support are terrible in this area. People wait up to 3 months for appointments with the mental health team, so the support they get varies according to how supportive their GPs are. Luckily my GP is fantastic and is very supportive but I dread to think of the help others in the area are getting.

  6. Wow. I can see why you were a bit apprehensive about posting it but well done for having the guts. An amazing post, of which you should feel very proud.
    Suicide is something people just don’t discuss and I think if we did, it might be a lot less prevalent.
    Please keep fighting for your happy ending. It’s out there, I promise xx

    1. Thank you Vicky. It was hard the response has been amazing though. If it helps someone then that’s even better.
      It will eventually me and my partner are just too stubborn 🙂

      1. It’s a cliché but true, one day at a time. It took me a long time before I realised that I’d actually smiled at something, then I smiled at myself for smiling! I still remember the moment, I was walking through the park, the sun was shining, and I saw a squirrel. I picked up an acorn, took it home and planted it as a marker of the occasion and the tree is now going strong!

        It will happen, you will have your ‘sunshine moment’ so please hold on.

        1. Thank you so much Claire for stopping by. I’m really sorry to hear that you too have had such a rough time but I’m so pleased to hear you’re in a much more sunshine filled place. And bonus points to you for looking for the warning signs with your partner I couldn’t imagine how he might have declined had you not sought out for help with him. It’s a rough world we live in especially when many don’t believe depression is in fact a medical diagnosis not just something people say.

  7. My heart breaks for you, for all of us really that have been touched in some way by suicide or attempts. It is so sad to see someone that lost, to know that nothing you can do can help them back to normal. It breaks my heart to know that someone is that sad, that depressed, that broken. Kudos to you for speaking out. I lost my life partner and my son’s father to suicide and my son recently attempted to end his life, than God he lived. Thank God you cried out. If only all of us could be this strong. May you be blessed indeed!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear of your losses; were you given much support yourself? Also really pleased to hear about your son how is he doing now? I have had a big response to this post and I’m so shocked at how well recieved it’s been, not a negative comment in sight across social media either. Thank you for stopping by and reading and I hope it didn’t bring up negative memories for you; best wishes xx

  8. This is so great! You are brave to talk about this and raise awareness of this! I appreciate your efforts to get this out there and share your story with people!

    1. Thank you for stopping by. Yes talking about mental health is hard enough as it is. We still live in a world where it is taboo to talk about how we feel let alone if we have diagnosed problems. Like you say though I think if some how somewhere I could help someone then it makes everything worth it!

  9. To prevent suicide, we have to care more. We have to love more. We have to understand more. I’ve been in a situation where I contemplated suicide. I was emotionally down and no one understood how I felt. But, God reached out to me, in my depths of despair. He gave me a new beginning and I’m grateful to Him. Thanks for sharing so bravely!

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