September Suicide Awareness Month


With September being suicide awareness month I can think of no better time to write a blog post regarding this taboo topic. Not everyone experiences suicidal feelings in the same way because, as stated by the mental health charity MIND, ‘Suicidal feelings can range from being preoccupied by abstract thoughts about ending your life or feeling that people would be better off without you, to thinking about methods of suicide or making clear plans to take your own life’.

Suicide is an important topic that needs more awareness in order to make it easier to talk about. With this in mind, it is important to understand how serious the issue of suicide is. As such, here are some facts taken from the World Health Organisation, Mental Health Foundation and Samaritans :
– In 2016 suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds
– Around 800,000 people die by suicide every year
– In 2018 deaths by suicide rose by 11.8% in the UK
– Men are three times as likely to die by suicide than women in the UK, with the highest suicide rate being among men aged 55-65
– Suicide deaths rates have increased by 23.7% among under 25-year olds, reaching 730 deaths in 2018

Dealing with suicidal thoughts and feelings can be very difficult, so here is some advice for those who are suicidal (taken from the NHS and Rethink Mental Illness):
– Focus on NOW rather than the future
– Reach out to someone that you trust to talk about your thoughts and feelings
– If you don’t have anyone that you want to talk to then please contact a helpline (I have noted some very useful helplines below for anyone who may need to contact someone now)
– Try to distract yourself with activities you enjoy

One method that can help reduce the action of taking your own life is to set up a crisis/support plan. A crisis plan is to support you when you are at risk of taking your own life. This plan might consist of names and numbers of contacts that you could use, a list of aspects of your life that you think are good, where you can go to feel safe, what to do if the suicidal thoughts are persistent and a list of possible distractions.

Anxiety UK: 03444 775 774
MIND: 0300 123 3393
Rethink Mental Illness: 0300 5000 927
Samaritans: 116 123
Refuge: 0808 2000 247
Alcoholics Anonymous: 0845 769 7555
Victim Support: 0808 168 9111

Anyone can experience mental health problems. It is important to check up on family and friends because a simple interaction, kind word or gesture can make a difference. However, it isn’t only our family and friends that we need to look after. If you see a stranger who looks like they are struggling please reach out to them because you might just be saving their life. It is important to remember that suicide awareness isn’t restricted to a single month – awareness needs to be ongoing to ensure a greater understanding and in turn save lives.

Below are some useful links to facts and methods of coping:
Rethink Mental Illness (useful link if you’re having suicidal thoughts):
Mental Health Foundation:

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