World Mental Health Day 10 October 2019
World Mental Health Day 10 October 2019

This year’s theme is suicide prevention. I went over some facts back in September’s blog but let’s revisit:

Mental distress can build-up if there is no release of what is frustrating you, whether this is feelings, emotions, situations or all three. They contribute to the quality of life we lead. If all three feel negative, then the amount of frustration you carry around will feel like lead weights tied to your back.

If all three are perceived with such weight then it can feel like there is no end to your troubles and sadness, forcing you to consider taking action. This can be in the form or self-harm or suicide for those who feel unable to ask for help, or feel help just isn’t available to them. You may also feel that you don’t deserve help and this prevents you from even considering reaching out to someone.

According to the Mental Health Foundation’s most recent data, they report the following statistics:

  • In the UK in 2018, there were 6,507 deaths by suicide (a rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people);
  • The highest rate in 2018 was observed in Scotland (16.1 deaths per 100,000 people), followed by Wales (12.8 deaths per 100,000 people) and England (10.3 deaths per 100,000 people); and
  • Overall, men accounted for three-quarters of UK deaths by suicide in 2018.

Research suggests that when a combination of factors accumulate and overwhelm a person, this is when an individual can start to feel beaten by life, worthless and deflated by all their previous efforts; it can be the worthlessness that is all consuming in some cases.

Preventing suicide is so important, and we can all help. The Mental Health Foundation suggest the following approach:

It may strike you as odd to ask: ‘are you having suicidal thoughts?’ It is not a regular conversation piece in most people’s daily chatter. Asking the question does not encourage it as an option. Thoughts pass; consider them as a wave, they start off small then build-up, peak and then ebb away. Discussing thoughts can help the build-up seem less overwhelming. If we can encourage people to understand that thoughts are temporary then then can understand feelings in the same way. Thoughts and feelings may repeat but they don’t last forever. Positive and courageous conversations save lives and help people understand their thoughts and feelings in more manageable ways.

Who will you talk to today?

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