Anyone can learn the skills to help save a life from suicide.

Wednesday 10th October 2018 is World Mental Health day so I thought it would be a good day to tell you about my son,Toby.

Toby was a happy-go-lucky 23-year-old young man who walked into a field one night in July 2011 and took his own life. No one, not me or his close friends, had any clue that he was depressed, mentally ill or had any thoughts of self-harm. It came as a complete bolt-out-of-the -blue to us all.

Suicide is a controversial word and people find it very hard to say out loud or talk about. Professor Green the rapper, aka Stephen Manderson, lost his Dad to suicide and made a documentary about it. He said: “If you want to empty a room – talk about suicide.”

I was a single mum and as Toby grew into a young man I worried about many things; drugs, drinking and driving, getting mugged for his iPhone, but I never, ever, worried about him walking into a field one summer night and killing himself.

Because I never knew – I never knew that as a young man he was more likely to die from suicide than anything else. Why didn’t I know? Why didn’t anyone warn me? I now know that 84 men every week take their own lives in the UK. YES – 84 EVERY WEEK. A shocking statistic.

My first overwhelming emotion was anger – anger at the world, the government, the media, the medical profession; anger at whoever it was that should have told me. Then followed guilt that I had not been able to protect my son, that he hadn’t come to me for help and that I had not been able to save him.

I made it my mission to find out all I could about young male suicide, I connected with charities and organisations and learned that the main theory behind why so many men die from suicide is that they don’t talk about their worries – they keep it all inside and don’t reach out for help.

Telling people to ‘talk to someone’ when they are struggling is not really that helpful, but it is a step in the right direction. Toby probably would never have phoned a help-line or gone to the GP, I don’t think he even had registered with one, but he may have talked to his friends if they had known how to help him. And people can learn how to help, in fact anyone can learn the skills to help save a life from suicide.

I was trustee for PAPYRUS for a year, they are a UK charity dedicated to reducing young suicide and promote practical ways to help and educate people. As part of my role I attended a 2-day course called ASIST, which stands for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, it is like a First Aid course to help anyone who may be suicidal.

I firmly believe that one of the key ways we can all contribute to reducing suicide rates in the UK is to all become ‘suicide aware’ and learn how to talk about suicide to our families, colleagues, friends and children. If we start talking about it to each other and stop being afraid of the subject I believe a lot more people, especially young men, would speak to their friends about worries and thoughts of self-harm.

I recently started a new part-time job and one of the first courses I was sent on was ‘First Aid at Work’. I was taught how to put someone in the recovery position, do CPR and stop serious bleeding among other things. ASIST is a bit like that but instead of being taught how to do CPR you will learn how to talk to someone who may be suicidal.

It is a myth that you can implant the idea of suicide into someone’s mind by talking about it, but it has been proven that intervention works. ASIST is about becoming aware, looking out for signs, assessing the risk and then helping someone to stay safe until they can get help.

So here are the key things that I have learned along the way and from my training, about how to talk about suicide and how to create connections where it is safe to talk about mental health.

It is about connecting, understanding and assisting.

1. Check in with friends more often and preferably not on social media or by text.
How many of us have friends that we keep meaning to contact but just get distracted and too busy? Check in regularly with friends and if possible talk on the phone or meet for coffee, you can’t really connect with someone fully and assess how they are feeling just by text or social media. Sometimes just feeling cared for and supported can help distract someone from suicidal thoughts.
2. Look out for any signs that things are not OK.
Behaviour changes
Withdrawing from life or hobbies, missing work, lectures etc
Giving away possessions
Becoming excessively gloomy or alternatively they may seem excessively happy and excited
Has the person recently experienced a life changing event such as new job, losing a job, exam results, relationship break up, financial pressures, starting University etc.
3. Ask open questions.
Don’t just ask ‘how are you?’ ask ‘How’s the job going – are you enjoying it?’ or ‘What’s been happening recently?’ – this gives the person the invitation to open up to you – if you ask them how they are they will probably just say ‘fine’.
4. Ask them ‘Are you having thoughts of suicide?’
If you are concerned just ask directly and gently, don’t be scared to broach the subject if you are at all concerned.
5. Assess the risk.
If someone tells you they have had, or are having,suicidal thoughts – ask them if they have a specific plan or is it just a thought. You need to asses how urgently they need intervention help.

If someone indicates they have plan and are prepared, ask them if you can help them disable that plan, just for now. Ask them if they will agree to say safe until you can both find a way to help them access some resources. For example, if they have amassed pills to take you could ask them to give the pills to you.

Commit to help them find support and together you can access the internet, their GP, a help-line or a mental health charity to guide you on ways the person can find help and support. PAPYRUS run a help-line called HopelineUK on 0800 068 41 41 which anyone can call if they are worried about a young person.

Reassure them that it is OK and perfectly normal to feel as if you can’t cope or you can’t go on and that it is possible for them to feel better and tell them you are committed to helping them and being part of their support system.

There is a lot of useful information on the PAPYRUS websiteon what signs to look out for and how you can find help. If you are worried about someone do some research so you are prepared when you meet.

ASIST training is available to anyone over 16 and is available all over the UK and in some places you can do it free of charge. Look at Living Works website to find out more.

I can’t bring my son back, but I hope my story will promptothers to help each other and together we can create suicide safer communities and reduce the shocking statistics, so please share this post on World Mental Health day.

Read my blog at www.losingachildtosuicide.org.uk

Anne Thorne

Recommended Posts

52 Comments

  1. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a
    famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  2. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?

    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today.

  3. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words
    in your post seem to be running off the screen in Safari.

    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility
    but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design and style look great though!

    Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Many thanks

  4. I read this paragraph fully on the topic of the resemblance of latest
    and previous technologies, it’s remarkable article.

  5. Thanks for sharing this informative blog with us. Find out the Customized & Personalized Gifts Supplies in UAE on Etisalat yellowpages.

  6. Thanks in favor of sharing such a pleasant idea, paragraph is good, thats why
    i have read it completely

  7. Hello my family member! I wish to say that this article is awesome,
    nice written and include almost all important infos. I would like to peer more posts like this .

  8. Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar
    one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam feedback?
    If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any support is
    very much appreciated.

  9. It was excellent and good. Thank you for this useful, informative and effective text, my dear friend. I hope you are more successful every day.

  10. It is not my first time to visit this web site, i am visiting this website dailly and
    get fastidious information from here every day.

  11. I couldn’t resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  12. naturally like your web site however you need to take a look at
    the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling
    problems and I in finding it very troublesome to inform the reality however I’ll certainly come back again.

  13. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers
    and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You
    have done a extraordinary job!

  14. Everyone loves it when individuals get together and share views.

    Great website, continue the good work!

  15. This piece of writing is really a good one it assists new web people,
    who are wishing in favor of blogging.

  16. After exploring a few of the blog articles on your web site, I really like your way of writing a blog.
    I book marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future.
    Take a look at my web site as well and tell me your opinion.

  17. If you would like to improve your experience simply keep visiting this site and be updated with the hottest gossip posted here.

  18. Bài viết này sẽ chỉ ra xem tại sao Slim Hami lại có sức
    hút đến như vậy nhé.

  19. Unquestionably believe that that you said. Your favorite justification seemed to
    be on the net the easiest factor to be mindful of.

    I say to you, I definitely get annoyed whilst folks think about issues
    that they just don’t recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the entire thing without having side effect , other
    people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more.
    Thanks

  20. First off I would like to say fantastic blog!
    I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.

    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing.
    I’ve had trouble clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just
    seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying
    to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
    Thank you!

  21. Quality content is the important to invite the visitors to visit the website, that’s what this web page is providing.

  22. I enjoy, result in I discovered just what I was taking a look for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.
    Bye

  23. Ridiculous quest there. What occurred after?
    Good luck!

  24. I every time used to study piece of writing in news papers but now as I am a user of
    internet therefore from now I am using net for content,
    thanks to web.

  25. Attractive portion of content. I simply stumbled upon your blog and
    in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed
    account your weblog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing for
    your feeds and even I achievement you get right of entry to
    persistently quickly.

  26. Хотите сыграть в Казино Вулкан существует более 20 лет и стало легендой в Украине, России и странах СНГ. История Вулкана началась еще в девяностых годах, с первых наземных игровых клубов. Сайт vlk-casino-online.com хорошо знаком игрокам Рунета, как преемник лучших традиций казино Вулкан

    Тогда переходи сюда :
    ёбаный рот этого казино

    Где На сайте представлены более 200 слотов Игрософт, Нет Ент, Гаминатор Новоматик, Плейсон, Айскинг и др. Отдача игровых автоматов Вулкан более 95

  27. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer
    for your blog. You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.

    Please send me an e-mail if interested. Thank you!

  28. I simply couldn’t go away your web site prior to suggesting that I actually loved the usual
    information a person provide in your guests? Is gonna be again steadily in order to investigate cross-check new
    posts

  29. This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  30. I don’t even understand how I ended up here, however I believed this publish used
    to be great. I do not realize who you’re however definitely
    you’re going to a well-known blogger if you are
    not already. Cheers!

  31. Hi, Neat post. There is a problem together with your site in internet explorer,
    would test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a huge section of other folks will
    omit your magnificent writing due to this problem.

  32. I constantly emailed this blog post page to all my friends, as if like to read it afterward
    my contacts will too.

  33. I am sure this article has touched all the internet users,
    its really really fastidious post on building up new website.

  34. Là thành phần được chiết xuất chính từ các sinh vật biển, nó có dạng như một chất
    xơ hòa tan.

  35. Appreciation to my father who informed me about this webpage, this web site is in fact awesome.

  36. excellent points altogether, you just won a new reader.

    What might you suggest about your publish that you just made some days in the past?
    Any positive?


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.