The costs of suicide
It remains a sad fact that the most likely way in which a young male will die prematurely is through suicide. Last week I took part in a debate which identified how important a phenomena this is and the ongoing impact that suicide has on partners, families, friends and work colleagues. As I intervened in the debate I was very well aware of the number of recent fatalities we have had locally including the untimely death of Peter Morris the young graphic designer.
Having met members of his family and pledged to do what I can via their new charity Sunflowers Suicide Support, I recently recorded a short You Tube piece on what suicide means to me and what we can all do to prevent it.
There can be very few of us whose lives have not been affected by a suicide of someone close to us. That’s why everyone has to do much more to try to prevent each and every attempt at the ultimate self-harm. It is such a shock when this occurs and we all reflect on what we might have done to intervene to prevent it.
Unfortunately it also remains true that it is very difficult to predict who might want to take their own life. Only a relatively small minority of people are ever previously known to the authorities and an even smaller number receiving actual medical and other forms of support. That’s why wider society, families, schools, friendship groups, and workplaces are such vital places in getting to know someone and helping them through whatever problems they might be currently facing.
Over the years I have had to deal with the repercussions of suicide on many occasions. This is both sad and deeply shocking. More than that the staff I employ are sometimes faced with desperate individuals who are threatening suicide. At a recent day called to discuss how MPs and their offices work through the effects of mental health issues and on what we do when confronted by them, suicides, and the threat of someone taking their own lives was seen as one if if not the most stressful part of the job.
For myself I want to do much more to prioritise this issue, to help the new charity, and to get everyone to talk much more freely on how it has affected them and more particularly what we can all do to prevent an incident from happening. In these times of austerity and great inequality and unfairness the suicide threat is more ever present than ever and just saving one life is so important.