Youthwatch Darlington Volunteer Blog - "Suicide -the word itself is enough to catch your attention"
One of our newest Youthwatch Darlington volunteers Emily West took some time to find out more about 'suicide' and what this means for young people. Emily shares her written blog which she hopes will raise awareness and help young people living in the area in aid of 'World Suicide Prevention Day' (Tuesday 10th September 2019).
Please feel free to share via your media channels or with a young person you know.
"Suicide – the word itself is enough to catch your attention. Yet the signs so often remain unnoticed -from subtle changes in behaviour, the way a person washes and dresses to simply how often they listen to their favourite music. Today, suicide remains the greatest killer of both men and women between the ages of 5 and 35. Let that sink in for a minute, if you consider the risk posed by cancer and heart disease as well that of traffic accidents, you remain a larger threat to your own life during these crucial years.
So often in the media, suicide is oversimplified – a person lost their job, their relationship came to an end or they lost someone they loved dearly, failing to illustrate the complexity and overwhelming nature of suicidal thoughts. Whilst some contemplate the idea for many months, others are more impulsive, making suicide increasing difficult to predict and combat. Over 90% of people who die by suicide experience complex mental health difficulties over the course of their life, often stemming from early childhood and progressively worsened by major life-events. Increasing the awareness of suicide, therefore, is dependent on the national response to poor mental health. We must create a society which is both inclusive and willing to listen to those experiencing problems – giving them an outlet to express their difficulties. Without this, we leave people feeling as if they have nowhere to turn. Each and every one of us must play a part – listen to your friends, be responsive to their behaviour and don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions.
Suicide has a long lasting and devastating impact on a community. Though it remains important to reinforce that death by suicide is preventable. People forget all too often that suicide is a choice, and a difficult one at that. If we wish to understand suicide as a society, we must admit that we never truly can - but we can begin somewhere. We can begin to look at the increasing pressure we put both on ourselves and those around us - late nights and early mornings are a ticket to burnout, whilst skipping meals and prioritising work can lead to a rapid decline in both our physical and mental wellbeing. As cliché as it sounds, if we wish to see a decline in the number of deaths by suicide, we must each begin to look after ourselves. Society’s increasing demand for perfectionism must cease – getting perfect grades, going to the best university and securing a top graduate job may seem like the ideal life, but few are capable of achieving this whilst maintaining good mental health and strong social relationships, key factors in preventing suicide amongst young people. Increasing mental health provision is often seen as the solution to this increasing problem, yet it can only go so far if the people it is designed to help are unwilling or unable to help themselves.
It is important to be well informed of the local services designed to help you in times of crisis. For those below the age of 16 who are experiencing a mental health crisis in County Durham and Darlington, you can contact CAMHS Crisis Liaison Service on 01914 415733. For those aged 16 and above, you can contact Darlington Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team on 01325 552230."
Emily West, Darlington