World Suicide Prevention Day

10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day.

 According to the Alliance of Suicide Prevention Charities (TASC), suicide is the greatest cause of death amongst young men (15-44) in the UK as well as many young women too. Every four minutes someone in the UK tries to kill themselves and every hour and a half someone succeeds.

Research from the Office of National Statistics that was published in 2016, shows women’s suicide has reached the highest rate since 2005, an increase of 14% since the previous year. Across the UK 113 more women took their own lives than in the previous year.

Still, men remain the most high risk group and are 3 times more likely to die by suicide than women. More specifically, men aged 45-59, are still the group with the highest suicide rate.

As someone who has had suicidal thoughts many times over the years – and several failed attempts in my youth – suicide is something to be talked about openly and on a regular basis.

Dark thoughts and feelings of hopelessness are common. As a survivor of childhood abuse, I often felt despair and a deep sense of loneliness and dislocation from those around me and I lacked the emotional maturity to understand the source of my anguish – hence my attempts to remove myself from those feelings.

As an adult working in mental health, I totally understand those feelings and now have strategies in place to protect me from going to those dark places – though I do still occasionally find myself there.

Following the death on my father in 2014 for instance, I contemplated suicide again for the first time since my early teens. This was a time when “not being here” became a daily thought and even obsession but – unlike in my early years – I was now a parent and responsible for people I loved more than myself. This was, and remains, my reason for living (a good life for the most part, I hasten to add).

So for anyone out there in the same dark place I was in then – and might be again tomorrow – here are national Mind’s suggestions for how to stay safe:

  • If you don’t feel you can keep yourself safe right now, seek immediate help.
    • go to any hospital A&E department (sometimes known as the emergency department)
    • call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you can’t get to A&E
    • ask someone else to contact 999 for you or take you to A&E immediately
  • If you need some support right now, but don’t want to go to A&E, here are some other options for you to try:
    • contact the Samaritans on freephone 116 123, they’re open 24 hours and are there to listen
    • contact your GP for an emergency appointment or the out of hours team
    • call NHS 111 (England) or NHS Direct 0845 46 47 (Wales)
    • contact your local crisis team
  • In Leeds, there are 3 Crisis services delivered by the voluntary sector and a telephone helpline, Connect.
    • Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis Service 0113 260 9328
    • Dial House@Touchstone (for BAME people only Tuesdays and Thursdays) 0113 249 4675
    • Wellbean Hope in a Crisis Café (Sat, Sun and Mon 6pm-midnight) 07760 173 476
    • Connect (open 6pm-2am every night) 0808 800 1212

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