10th September: National Suicide Day

September 11, 2023

Today we remember all those who have been affected by the suicide of someone.

The first time I came face to face with suicide was in my final term at university. I was walking across campus to meet up with a friend and go to the library together. When I arrived outside her student flat complex, a mattress fell down from one of the floors and was removed by the student campus groundsmen.

I didn’t need to ask my friend why this was being done; she had told me the previous evening that someone on her floor had tragically ended their life. A scene to be repeated when my son went to university and woke up during freshers’ week to find out that someone in the accommodation block next to his had overdosed.

I think it’s not uncommon for us to think, when we are at a very low point in our life, that ending things is a solution, but for the majority, it is hopefully just a transient thought we can pull ourselves out of.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, it is very difficult to know who will act on suicidal thoughts. It’s recognised that stressful moments in life such as legal or financial problems or emotional pressures such as bullying or the end of a personal relationship.

I was a bit surprised to learn that asking someone if they were considering suicide was helpful by allowing them to open up.

However, if someone you know starts speaking about their suicidal feelings, we should just listen.

Offering advice and support is not helpful – something parents may find difficult not to do. My daughter has told me that my suggestions of how to help were not what she wanted when she was depressed. As a parent, when a child tells you something is wrong, you’re programmed to sort things. But we should just listen when people need to unburden. Don’t forget that this can be an emotional time for you as well so make time for yourself to process what they have told you.

If you’re worried about someone you know, it’s best to contact a Forces Charity. 

If you have contacted a mental health charity and found them to be good, please spare a minute to post their details in the group. By sharing this, you can help others – thanks.



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