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'Suicide prevention: we must work hard to communicate and connect with people at risk'

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It seems as if there is an awareness day for everything now. My favourite, which is coincidentally on my birthday, is National Lumpy Rug Awareness Day. However, this blog is about a day that is close to my heart: World Suicide Prevention Day, which this year was on 10 September.

There is still stigma attached to suicide. It’s a difficult topic to discuss - and to read about. No matter what some posts lead you to believe, feeling suicidal and suicide is not pretty or heroic, nor is it a trend to follow.

“Every 40 seconds someone ends their life. This has to change”

It is not a beautiful way for a life to end. It’s brutal.

It’s a war inside your mind. It’s fighting the thoughts of whom you would hurt if you ended your life and the feeling you just can’t carry on.

It is putting on a smile, but wanting to break down in tears. Or the feeling of being so numb that functioning just seems impossible.

It’s crying and screaming and whimpering in the middle of the night.

It is being in a sea of despair, drowning in your own thoughts whilst everyone else has a lifeboat.

And it can affect anyone. Every single person in this world is at risk of feeling suicidal. Nobody is immune.

“Too often we turn a blind eye as responsibility is passed on to someone else; and nobody is any better for it”

Let’s look at the statistics. In the UK, those at the highest risk of suicide are men aged 45-49. In England, the female suicide rate is at it’s highest since 2005. An article published by the BBC this year told how Childline receives 53 calls a day from children in the UK who are suicidal. That’s 19,481 calls - a figure that has doubled in the past five years. Every 40 seconds someone ends their life. This has to change.

So what are we doing about it? It’s sad, but too often we turn a blind eye as responsibility is passed on to someone else; and nobody is any better for it.

When thinking about writing this blog, I asked some friends what had made life a little more bearable when they have thought about ending their life. For those of you who are lucky enough never to have entertained the idea of ending your life please read this, as you never know when you may meet someone who needs you.

For those of you who may be suicidal, I’m not going to tell you to smile because I know this isn’t going to miraculously make things better. It isn’t going to improve your mental health and make you want to skip through fields of rainbows and butterflies.

Instead, I’m going to tell you that there are people that love and appreciate you. I’m going to remind you that this is such a small fraction of such a large life and you have a future in this world. I’m going to tell you that if you need to talk, I’m here, but if you need your space, you’ve got it.

“It is absolutely okay to be sad, but at the same time you totally deserve happiness”

I’m going to ask you to go talk to the ones you love; go to see your kids, your friends. It is absolutely okay to be sad, but at the same time you totally deserve happiness.

If you are reading this and you are having thoughts to end your life, I want you do one thing; I want you carry on.

This may seem impossible or at least like the most difficult task in the world, but I want to let you know that it is okay not to be okay and that you can get through this.

Hope is a starting point. It led to women being given more rights. It got a man on the moon. Hope is what gets people all over the world through each day.

And hope is what is going to make things slightly more bearable.

I believe in you.

Sarah Brown is a current student nurse

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