Listening to the news lately, I have noticed the word ‘suicide’ being mentioned a few times. That’s a few times too many by the way.
This blog is here to raise awareness, not to offend or upset those who may have been touched by these issues.
I want to start by stating that talking about suicide is not a bad thing. In fact, not talking about it is potentially the cause of so many needless deaths in the world right now.
The following facts and statistics are taken from MHFA England:
- 20.6% of the general population have had suicidal thoughts
- 16- 24-year-old have reported having suicidal thoughts; this is higher than any other age group
- In 2017 we lost 5,487 people to suicide in Great Britain
- More females attempt suicide
- More males die by suicide 75% and 25%
- 80 to 90% of people attempting suicide have mental health problems but are not diagnosed
- 51.6% of 16 – 34-year-old who are suicidal do not seek help
In 2017 we lost 5,487 people to suicide in Great Britain
When we look at the first statistic, 20.6% of the general population have had suicidal thoughts. This shows how common an issue it is and why we should not be afraid to discuss it.
More men complete suicide than women. There is no real rhyme or reason for this. Some say that the male suicide choice is more violent, so ends with more suicidal completions. This may be true in the main but is not the only reason. It could also be to do with males are reluctant to talk about mental health problems.
Society also passes a more significant burden on males to be ‘strong’ and ‘not show emotion’. This really is an outdated thought process and one that needs to stop. Never has the phrase “It’s OK not to be OK” been more relevant.
Women are statistically more likely to talk about their thoughts and feelings, and by doing so, have a 50% lower suicide rate.
80 – 90 % of people attempting suicide have mental health problems that are not diagnosed. WOW, WOW, WOW. How are these people going unnoticed by society, friends or family? In my opinion, they are not going unnoticed, but potentially they are unintentionally ignored.
What do I mean by this? You may notice a friend or colleague acting a bit out of character. You decide that its none of your business and carry on. You’re with a group of friends, and one is acting out of sorts. You ask if they are ok, they reply yes. That’s it you have done your job, and you carry on.
Maybe someone is brave enough to say, I have a few issues, but you’re out on a night out, and you reply with don’t worry, have a beer that will sort it and then you let out a big cry of LADS LADS LADS and then carry on.
If someone is brave enough to speak out, no matter where it is, have the courtesy to listen to them.
Now let’s stop and think what these actions have potentially done to those who are suffering. By just carrying on and not stopping to talk and take the time to get to help them, you are building a wall between the ‘normal world’ and their world. This then makes it just a little bit harder for them to then ask for help.
The harder it becomes, the less chance they will begin to talk. If they are not talking, they are left alone with their thoughts. If someone is brave enough to speak out, no matter where it is, have the courtesy to listen to them. Ask if they have had suicidal thoughts. You may find this extremely strange, but you will not make somebody suicidal by asking, but you may be able to help somebody if they say yes. If they say yes, ask if they have a plan. Ask what their time scale is. Ask them if they have had these thoughts before and what did they do to help control their thoughts.
Speak to them to see if they are seeking professional help. Do not try and false your opinions but listen and be guided by them. They may refer to a person or professional body, ask if they would like to speak to the person or body now. Try and stop them from drinking or taking drugs if there is any in the vicinity. Remember, alcohol is a depressant and can make things worse.
A Mental Health First Aider is not a doctor, psychiatrist or nurse but they are somebody who is on the front line of Mental Health issues with training on how to spot the signs and symptoms of those who may be suffering.
They are not there to cure a person, but they are there to help signpost them to professional help, but most importantly, they are there to let others know they are not alone.
This blog does not constitute training. Please click the link below for our up and coming courses and remember it’s OK not to be OK.