University of Huddersfield went beyond the call of duty, providing a venue and environment that was perfect for our audience last night, which numbered approximately 140.
Special thanks must go to University members Sybilla Daley (Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment) , Phil Drake (Huddersfield University Law School), Dr Sarah Kendall (Human & Health Sciences), Steven Lyon (Human & Health Sciences) and Hull University student Celine Ballantine, who has been in the news recently for opening up about her depression and anxiety. This was Celine’s first public speaking engagement and her honesty and sincerity sang out through her words. We were all extremely proud of her. Thank you Celine for your valued input.
Besides the welcome attendance of the Samaritans who supplied 6 professionals to assist (thank you!), a lady from SOBS and the many smaller, independent groups aiming to make a difference, the audience mix last night was fabulous, students through to the older age group, all backgrounds, all races, but with one thing in common to discuss – SUICIDE.
I’m not going to mention names, but suffice to say there were some incredibly brave people last night who opened their hearts to the audience. For others, it was a case of their minds being opened. For everyone, our ears were opened.
From the start, people wanted to talk. There were some desperately sad, tragic and moving stories; equally, there were stories of hope too. Attendees from across the whole spectrum of suicide – those who’d attempted, thought about it, been bereaved by it, all had something to say and everyone was hugely supportive of those who found the courage to speak, of which there were many.
At the end of the meeting, Michael and myself were swamped with people both excited because they’d spoken and felt un-burdened, others who felt enlightened because they’d listened and others who were so emotional at revealing the truth, revealing themselves, they alternated between tears and thank yous.
The conversation was broad and as always, other issues and other questions arise when there is much active dialogue. None of us pretend to have the answers. We simply try to understand and learn from ourselves and from others.
New friendships were made last night. A realisation that helping ourselves can actually have benefits and is better than doing nothing at all.
People are generally good. We want to make people feel better. We want to help.
Keep talking everyone, because communication is a giant step forward for us all.
Thank you all for attending. It was an absolute pleasure.
It’s time to stop the silence.