Its not often that I feel compelled to write about such sensitive topics as suicide… but today I feel that I need to get my thoughts on “paper”.
Since the weekend my mind has been spinning with thoughts about this epidemic that is claiming the lives of so many, why it is happening and why the hell is more not being done to help?
On Sunday my boyfriend and I decided to go on a day trip. The sun was shining, we were in the best of moods and we wanted to make the most of such a beautiful day.
Next thing I knew we were staggered back to reality when passing the Craigavon bridge in Derry, we saw the search teams setting off for their second search of the day to hopefully find Jack Glenn, a lovely young man who had entered the river almost 6 weeks beforehand. A search that has been in vain for the last month or more as his poor family walk the banks of the River Foyle endlessly day and night, never losing hope that the river will surrender their beautiful son & brother.
Again on the way home, another stark reminder as his family, friends and even perfect strangers gathered at the Foyle Bridge ready to set off again. Cars plastered in “Get Jack Back” – making any attempt to be reunited with their loved one.
We drove across that bridge and suddenly the low side railing caught my eye… A simple hop over and realistically, someone of any height could easily be on the other side…
This might seem like such an obvious thing, but I cannot fathom, why in this day and age there isn’t a 20ft fence around each bridge, or if that isn’t possible, then why isn’t there rows of barbed wire on each side?
Some may argue that, if people want to end things then they will find another way, but surely eliminating an obvious one such as this would at least give them time to reconsider.
I was overwhelmed by how the community of Derry/Londonderry and beyond had come out together to help… to campaign, to draw awareness, yet I was saddened by this also.
Why is it so easy to talk about it now and offer help, yet it is so difficult to talk about the problems that lead to this point. There is such a taboo issue surrounding mental health and whilst so many people are campaigning to end this, it unfortunately still remains.
To be honest, even writing the word “suicide” made me nervous, writing this post made me nervous… but why? I was almost afraid that I would say the wrong thing or offend someone and therein lies the problem. If I was writing about a health issue such as cancer or heart problems, I wouldn’t be afraid, I’m not afraid to write about my skin trouble, or weight issues so why the hell should I be afraid to write about this when it is affecting a huge percentage of our population and claiming the lives of so many.
I started this post several days ago and since then, I have heard the news that another young man Dean Millar has also entered the river, another beautiful life lost to suicide. And whilst search teams were looking for him and for Jack, they helped another lady down from the railings.
To me, this has simply gone too far. Our people, particularly our young people are suffering and need help.
Going for treatment for your mental health needs to be as common and as acceptable as buying panadol for a headache…
We aren’t afraid to put up posters about the risks of drink driving or the risks of smoking, can’t we make ads to highlight the issues surrounding mental health? TV, Radio, Social Media, Magazines, Posters… showing the avenues that people can go down for help, showing the aftermath, the families grieving, the destruction, how much they are loved and how things will always get easier. How suicide isn’t the answer and won’t solve their problems, It will simply put them and more onto the shoulders of others.
Can’t we open centres in and around our towns and cities geared towards mental health? Rehabilitation centres for alcohol and substance abuse? Can’t we stop putting money into silly statues and the like and put it to good use to save the lives of people who are struggling? What exactly will it take for the Irish and Northern Irish governments to step the hell up and do something? Is it going to take one of their family members committing suicide in order for this to happen?
I didn’t know Jack, I didn’t know Dean… and I am very lucky not to have been directly affected by suicide, but this month I feel we are all directly affected. We never ever wanted lives to be claimed to start the talking point, but now that it is to the forefront of the media – now is the time to do something about it!
I once read a scary statistic… that out of a large number of suicide attempt survivors interviewed, over 90% of them said that they regretted their decision as soon as they started.
They didn’t want to die, they just wanted to live without their pain. That says it all…
Look I am no expert… I have no training in psychology so I don’t claim to know what I am talking about or to be an expert in any way… but I am a human being with empathy for such suffering and I have a public forum here on this blog with many young people following so I am talking about it and thats a step…
By me talking about it and you talking about it, maybe someone who really needs to talk about it will find a way, or feel that they aren’t alone.
Life is a beautiful gift… and whilst it feels like absolute shit sometimes… excuse the crudeness but we all know it does… it also feels ok sometimes… and even ‘good’ if we let it.
I have been to some pretty low lows and I am sure that everyone of you have too but we have also been to some pretty high highs and it is ok to experience both. Its ok to be sad, its ok to feel low, even to be at rock bottom. What isn’t ok is to do it alone and not ask for help.
I’m asking all of you to look out for each other, start the conversation, even if its hard. Put your pen to paper like I have. Reach out, say “I need help” or ask people “Do you need help?”.
Who are any of us to judge you? because someday we could be the ones needing help.
Don’t rob yourself of tomorrow as tomorrow may hold everything you ever needed to get past the darkness of today.
You are enough, you are so enough, It is unbelievable how enough you are!
Aware – Suicide helpline