Thursday, 10 September 2020

World Suicide Prevention Day

I’ve just read a post, not any old post. This post: 

A brave and honest post, a post that reminds me that I should probably have written just such a post, should have been just as honest, just as brave because it’s World Suicide Prevention Day today and although it goes without saying that I’ve never succeeded, there was a time when just one person sharing something similar might have made the world of difference to how I felt, years ago. And what I did.

But it didn’t. Suicide wasn’t much talked about back then and, if it was, it was as a sign of weakness and a cause of shame. ‘Pull yourself together’ was the kind of thing you were likely to hear, and the word ‘Suicide’ was linked, umbilically, with ‘selfish’. 

I don’t need to tell anyone reading this how wrong that view is any more than I expect to have to convince anyone that the world ain’t flat. But the stigma still goes on. And the secret shame is still the worst of all. So, yes... I have to write this post and nail my colours to the mast, too. In the hope that it might, just, help someone, somewhere. Just knowing...

About a year ago I discovered a former pupil of mine had ended his own young, promising life some months before. It was a terrible shock, doubly so when you inevitably think back trying to identify signs, trying to work out whether you could have made a difference. What does make a difference? Well, failure, at least in my case. In others, pause. Twenty minutes, it is said, is all it takes to stop someone going through with it. But just knowing, too, that you aren't alone; knowing there are others out there who have felt the same, felt as low; knowing that there are people who won't judge, who care because they've been there, known those same depths and who understand. Survivors. Someone. Could be anyone. Me. You. Someone who can simply say, whether in person or in a blog post, "it’s ok, you’re not to blame" and someone who, by the very fact they’re alive to say those words proves there is a chance of something better, no matter how bad or bleak it is right now. There is a future.

So. Here it is. My post. My words. Not much, I know. Not enough, for sure. But something. If we could all do something, some small thing, well... who knows what a difference we could make?

It's okay to talk...

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