Imagine you’ve just come home from a meal with one of your closest friends. They were their usual happy, chatty selves and everything seemed fine. Just before going to sleep, you receive the most horrifying phone call. Your best friend has taken their own life.
Nothing can describe the seismic, earth-shattering shock and grief that those who learn of a loved one’s suicide feel. The crushing reality that someone who filled your life with joy, felt so bitterly unfulfilled in their own life that they completed suicide, is truly devastating. Tragically, more than 84 friendship groups across the UK suffer this reality every single week.
Those who are bereaved by suicide often discover that the person they have lost was suffering from mental ill-health and feelings of worthlessness but felt unable to discuss these issues with those closest to them.
As a society, we must get rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness urgently. The fact that lives could have been saved, if people had not felt a need to mask their feelings from those around them is beyond awful.
If you are reading this article and you are doubting whether your life matters, please know that your life holds huge value, and reach out for support. Talking to someone about what you are suffering from may seem like the one of the toughest conversations you’ll ever have. You’ll feel so much better after having that conversation though. Knowing that someone is there to help you get back on the road to recovery is an indescribably powerful feeling.
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) recently partnered with ITV to display 84 statues from the rooftops of their studio, representing the 84 men who take their own lives every week.
This physical manifestation of CALM’s Project 84 campaign drew a profound response from the public, with passers-by stopping and taking time to reflect on the significance and poignancy of the campaign. Each statue represented a man who had taken his own life and came with a different story. Thanks to Project 84, these stories are no longer in the shadows. They are in the open. CALM and other organisations are confronting suicide head-on by encouraging people to speak about how they feel, before it is too late.
By talking about mental illness as we would talk about physical illness, we can help people get better before they reach the horrendous conclusion that their lives are no longer worth living. If mental health issues are publicly ignored and stigmatised, those who suffer from them are left to feel isolated, and risk spiralling into deeper and deeper depression. Having a chat with someone about how they feel could rescue them from this depression.
How We Help
At Altruist, we are committed to ensuring that these conversations happen. Offices can often be areas of immense stress, where people bottle-up their true feelings for fear of coming across as ‘weak’ to their colleagues.
This fear needs to be thrown in the bin. To dispose of this perceived social awkwardness, we tour offices around the country, helping people to spot and chat about mental illness. By being more open about how we feel, hopefully we can all be happier.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, there are organisations that can help. Please find a list of useful contacts below:
If you feel like harming or hurting yourself:
- Call 999
- Go to your nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E)
This is a free number to call if you need help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. They can direct you to your local crisis support services and can also offer health advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like – about whatever’s getting to you.
Call them on 116 123
Email them on firstname.lastname@example.org
Find your nearest branch - https://www.samaritans.org/branches
Papyrus – Prevention of young suicide
Call Hopeline UK: 0800 068 41 41
SMS: 07786 209697