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LISTEN: "Every suicide is absolutely devastating"


Sunday 10 September 2023

LISTEN: "Every suicide is absolutely devastating"

Sunday 10 September 2023

The Clinical Lead for Guernsey's mental health services has opened up on his own feelings around suicide saying every one is a tragedy.

Dr Dominic Bishop is the Clinical Lead for Mental Health and Adult Disability across the Bailiwick.

Speaking to Express on the release of the new strategy, days before World Suicide Prevention Day, today, Dr Bishop said "every suicide is absolutely devastating for a huge number of people."

He said the "ripples around suicide are incredible" and "the idea that it takes away one person's pain" is wrong.

Dominic Bishop

Pictured: Dr Dominic Bishop is the Clinical Director for Mental Health and Adult Disability for the Bailiwick.

Dr Bishop said that "suicide is a permanent solution to what is almost always temporary problems".

He has known people both in his professional and personal life that have taken their own lives, and he said it is never for one reason.

"I don't think I've ever seen a simple case where you can think this one thing happened and then that person did that. It's always complicated. It's always a multitude of things and that's why the person feels so overwhelmed."

Dr Bishop said Guernsey has higher instances of suicide compared to the UK statistically but that is skewed by the island's small population.

He said evidence also continues to show more men than women will take their own lives and men are more likely to make irreversible decisions while women may make suicide attempts they can be rescued from.

mental health

Pictured: Evidence proves that men are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than women.

"Men are more likely to do something that they can't come back from, whereas a female might cut themselves or might take an overdose. A man is more likely to do something much more violent, which you're not going to be able to be saved from.

"It's that sort of things that make things particularly difficult. And that's why we see both in Guernsey and internationally the rate of suicide generally is for probably 3 to 4 men for every one woman."

Dr Bishop believes there is still a reluctance to talk to other people, particularly among men.

"People say we really want to destigmatise suicide but we don't, we want to really stigmatize suicide because it's a terrible, devastating thing.

"Or we want to destigmatise being able to talk about it."

Dr Bishop agreed that anonymity can help people reach out for help when they need it - whether that be to 

"You often find that it's the initial contact that really causes people significant anxiety. We work in a really small island. We live in a small island. It's very difficult to be anonymous.

"But men have had cancer screening, prostate screening, women go through cervical screening examinations, you might run in to your GP in Waitrose.

"We do maintain confidentiality, and we're particularly aware that that's even more important in a small place."



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