An article on the BBC News website caught my eye last week on the issue of UK suicide statistics and the increase that has occurred in men between the ages of 45 years and 59 years which has been explained in part by the legacy of the recession. (An extract of the actual report can be found below my signature below)
The article affected me because I am a man in the age bracket which is described in the piece as having had a noticeable increase in suicide rates. Men who should be at the prime of their lives cut down by an illness which to all intents and purposes could have been prevented.
So where does the prevention start?.
Many will suggest that the ownership belongs with general medical practice and mental health services or with institutions which have a duty of care for vulnerable adults e.g. prisons and so they do, but I want to encourage my readers to start with SELF!
I have suffered deep pain and anguish over the inner conflict I suffered over my sexuality and the potential consequences to myself and others of the truth coming out, and as a result the concept of suicide was certainly an option for me given the right circumstances.
It isn’t an option anymore!
I have to say, however, that it was not very likely that I would have taken my life because I was always acutely aware of the pain I would cause others which would have had consequences which were irreversible and hard to predict.
I have developed in recent months a deeper appreciation of understanding my truth so that I am no longer frightened of the impact on others of it coming out and I have developed a sense of community within which I feel supported.
I have also developed a more holistic concept of my whole life so that elements of past troubles or future anxieties or problems of today are never able to give me the feeling that they are all encompassing.
I have been able to put my problems in the context of a bigger picture so that for example an argument at home, unsettling as it can be, will not define the whole day in respect of other aspects of my life.
So I urge anyone feeling that suicide is the only option to think again. It most certainly is not.
Reach out for help from medical services but also take time to develop you’re own understanding of who you are, what needs to change to make you happy and fulfilled and try to communicate your truth within a community either family, with friends down the pub or at the gym, at a church group or calling the Samaritans so that you come to understand that:-
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
My next blog will be: Flip-Flop
19 February 2015 Last updated at 10:26
Suicide in men ‘highest since 2001’
The proportion of men taking their own lives in the UK has reached its highest level for more than a decade, according to official figures.
The Office for National Statistics data shows 19 deaths by suicide for every 100,000 men in 2013.
Overall, 6,233 suicides were registered in men and women over the age of 15 in 2013 – 4% higher than the previous year.
The legacy of the recession is one explanation for the rise.
Overall suicide rates had been falling consistently from 15.6 deaths per 100,000 in 1981 to 10.6 per 100,000 in 2007.
“Since 2007, the female rate stayed relatively constant while the male rate increased significantly,” the ONS report states.
In 2013, 78% of suicides were in men.
The most vulnerable age group were those aged between 45 and 59, however, the rates have been increasing in all age groups except in the under thirties.
The report added that research suggested that “the recent recession in the UK could be an influencing factor in the increase in suicides” and that “areas with greater rises in unemployment had also experienced higher rises in male suicides”.
Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, commented: “It is really shocking that men who are or could be in their prime of life should feel driven to such a state of hopelessness and despair for the future that they are taking their own lives.
“SANE’s own research shows that many suicides could be prevented, if people were able to talk more openly about their feelings and felt able to seek therapy or other help.
“Our concern is the number of suicides which are preventable and the fact that when people with mental illness hit crisis point, there are no available beds or units and they are sent home from A&E and left to suffer in silence.”
Joe Ferns, from the Samaritans, said: “The news is sadly not surprising to us given the context of a challenging economic environment and the social impact that brings.
“We need to see a greater focus at local and regional levels on the co-ordination and prioritisation of suicide prevention activity especially in areas with high socio-economic deprivation.”