Whilst I acknowledge that in some respects people are more open about mental health, I feel sad and concerned that the numbers of suicides I see reported or hear about is increasing. In 2018 according to the Office of National Statistics there were 6507 suicides registered in the UK. Three quarters of those suicides were male.
How many lives has suicide touched? It affects not only the immediate family, but the extended one as well, reaching friends and colleagues and acquaintances. It seems to have this ripple effect with a lot of people wondering why? Why didn’t they talk to me?
As a single mum of two teenagers, one of whom; a girl, has had significant mental health challenges and was hospitalised for suicidal ideation, I do feel we don’t always have the knowledge to initially realise there may be a mental health challenge with our children, never mind others. We love our children more than anything and would hope that we could see if there was a problem, but it’s not always that obvious. If we can’t see it in the people closest to us, how do we see it in someone else?
Although my daughter and I have an amazing relationship and always have, when she first began to struggle to kept quiet about how she was feeling. She did this in her words to “protect me”. She didn’t want me to worry and thought she could handle it.
I also have a friend who pretty much refuses to go to the doctors unless her arm is falling off because she doesn’t want to “be a bother”.
A lady I know has tried to take her own life because she “doesn’t see a way out and doesn’t want to burden anyone with her problems”.
Why do we think that if we keep the problem to ourselves it’s going to go away? Even when things are worsening, do we still stay quiet?
Is it because we don’t want to worry others?
Is it because we see it as weakness?
Are we ashamed, thinking that we are making a mountain out of a molehill?
Are we in denial?
Whatever the reason as a society we all need to be more able to open-up about mental health. No one should feel ashamed or as if they are a burden because they are struggling with something. I would rather someone told me they were having a difficult time than keeping it to themselves and becoming more overwhelmed and feel worse. I’m sure all the people I know feel the same.
Whoever you may be and whatever the problem is don’t make a permanent decision for a temporary problem!
If you are ever struggling with anything, reach out. Sometimes it just takes for you to speak the words to feel better. Say it out loud and you may just find that person who can support you and empathise with you. Pick up the phone and call someone, send a text, message a friend, call a counsellor if you don’t feel you can speak to someone close. There are helplines out there.
However, you do it, reach out. The people who love you would much rather you shared with them than suffered in silence or worse.
Who do you talk to? Do you have someone you can share your feelings with, your worries, your struggles?
Reach out and talk …. x