Suicide – a word many of us fear. We fear hearing about it and talking about it. The stigma, shame and silence that surrounds the subject prevents many of us from discussing it openly and honestly.
According to the World Health Organisation, almost 800,000 people globally die by suicide – that’s roughly 1 death every 40 seconds.
That’s almost 800,000 people every year who feel that life simply is not worth living. It’s difficult to imagine that many people isn’t it, but here’s some examples of what that vast number actually looks like:
*In 2014, the number of visiting fans into the UK to watch football matches was … 800,000 .
Talking about our feelings can be really helpful. It can make us feel better just by sharing our thoughts and having someone to listen. It can make the problem seem not quite as bad or difficult if we’ve talked it through with someone else. It can help release tension that builds up by keeping things locked inside, making us feel worse. It can create new, or stronger bonds with those around us and it helps to reduce the feeling of isolation.
No matter what emotions you are feeling – anger, sadness, frustration – it is good to share them. If you feel that you really cannot talk to someone else, then try writing your thoughts down, or talking about them out loud to yourself.
Many service users have told us that our meetings are the first time they have ever felt safe enough to open up about their experience of suicide, whether they are bereaved, are considering ending their lives, or have previously attempted to do so. They feel judged, ashamed, embarrassed. They believe no one will understand, that people don’t want to listen or discuss a subject which still has such a huge taboo attached to it.
It can be incredibly difficult for someone to start the conversation about their feelings and more so if they are feeling suicidal. They may also be feeling very frightened and confused about the thoughts they are having, leading to increased isolation.. It is, after all, a difficult, personal and emotive subject.
September 2020 brought us the suicide statistics for England and Wales and they make very similar reading to those in 2018, namely:
*Middle aged men (45-49) remain a highly vulnerable, at risk group.
*5,691 suicides were registered, with almost 3/4 of these male deaths by suicide and 1388 female deaths by suicide.
*Inrease in suicide rates amongst young (particularly female) people, under the age of 25
*Continued rise in suicide rates for 25-44 year olds.
2018 saw a 10.9% rise in UK figures, with 6507 lives lost to suicide , each one tragic, each one leaving a massive hole in the lives of their loved ones and friends.
Whilst the highest rates of suicide are men between the ages of 45 and 49, there was a staggering rise of 23.7% in the suicide rates of under 25 year olds.
The Samaritans provide detailed analysis of suicide rates which you can find at https://www.samaritans.org/about-samaritans/research-policy/suicide-facts-and-figures/
Alternatively, you can view suicide statistics via the Office of National Statistics by visiting https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/suicidesintheunitedkingdomreferencetables
Don’t be frightened about trying to start the conversation with someone you are worried about. Asking them if they are feeling suicidal might be the best help you can give.