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LETTER: "Suicide is not inevitable: give us hope"

LETTER:

Friday 10 September 2021

LETTER: "Suicide is not inevitable: give us hope"


"Please email your favourite Deputy with 'Stop Suicide'," is the message from Guernsey Mind on Suicide Prevention Day.

"Suicide Prevention Day takes place on 10 September every year. It’s an opportunity for communities around the world to come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide. We know that suicide is preventable, it’s not inevitable, with the right services and support structures in place, and a community where suicide is talked about and not feared, we can make a difference.

Supporting someone who may be thinking about suicide isn’t the responsibility of those closest to them. It’s often those closest to us that we can’t open up to about our most painful feelings, thoughts and behaviours. The things that we feel guilty about and ashamed of because we love them and want to protect them, we want to keep them safe from our pain, our ‘badness’.  Because if there wasn’t something wrong with us, we wouldn’t feel this way, would we? We wouldn’t feel that we are worthless or don’t deserve to have a good life. We would feel good enough, if only we could be the person we ‘should’ be, the person that society has told us we need to be to fit in. When bad things happen to us, surely it must be our fault, if we tried harder, were someone different, painful experiences wouldn’t happen? They don’t happen to anyone else do they?

So, we hide the things we think of as bad, the trauma we experience, we bury our feelings about them and pretend everything is OK. We don’t talk about how we feel, we don’t shout and cry and scream when we need to, we hide our feelings in various addictions - food, alcohol, smoking, work, sex, social media, exercise and television. We self-harm to confirm to ourselves that we really are as bad as we think, and when people tell us something different, we don’t believe them. All that pain we’ve buried is constantly telling us that it’s only ourselves to blame. And every time we self-harm we’re building and burying more and more emotional pain, guilt and shame. It becomes a never-ending cycle.

We think we’ve dealt with the feelings, that we’ve been resilient, that we’ve got on with things. But they don’t disappear, they stay hidden, ready to appear when something else triggers them, a small comment, something difficult at home, work or school, and then we feel sad, angry, emotional, but we don’t know why.  And how can we heal our emotional pain when we don’t know why we’re feeling the way we do? We think we’re broken, unfixable and life can become too unbearable to live with.

We lose hope that things can ever be better.

What if we’re not broken, none of us are. What if we’re just human beings and all of us have these feelings, trauma tears that are part of how we live. They’re a constant part of our lives, they can’t be fixed, only recognised and treated with compassion. Some people experience bigger traumas such as childhood abuse and neglect, sexual assault, accidents or being a victim of crime. For others the collective commonplace traumas of life like bullying, trolling, failing exams, losing a job, divorce, bereavement, becoming an adult or retiring, amongst so many other things, can make us feel broken and unworthy.  

Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to talk about suicide. We encourage you to ask the States of Guernsey to make suicide prevention a priority and help raise awareness about how we can each support each other better. This year’s theme, which will be the theme until 2023, is ‘Creating Hope Through Action’, this aims to empower people with the confidence to engage with the complexity of ‘hope’. On the day we will be asking people to share the things that they do which helps them feel hopeful when they’re going through a difficult time. For example:

  • Reaching out for a coffee with a close friend
  • Go for a run along the seafront
  • Write down how you are feeling

Take action to support yourself and others. The Guernsey Mind Therapy Service is a great way to find support for yourself or recommend to a friend. It’s entirely free and is a gateway to access highly qualified mental health practitioners on Island who might otherwise be too expensive, or you may not know about. We have 14 practitioners offering everything from EMDR, Systemic Psychotherapy and Cognitive Analytic Therapy to Counselling, Equine Therapy, Mindfulness and Reiki. You will have an initial appointment with a Referral Coach who will help you decide what is the best pathway of support. The Service is based on best practice for supporting people with trauma and we offer a combination of three types of therapy which have been proven to work well together.

  • Talking Therapy, such as Systemic Psychotherapy
  • Body Work, such as Shen Therapy
  • Mindfulness, such as the 8 week MBSR course

Most importantly, if something isn’t right for you, we will support you to find something else. There is always hope that things will get better. Please make that initial step and contact Guernsey Mind on 722959 or amanda.hibbs@guernseymind.org.gg.

To take action and make lasting change in our community please email your favourite Deputy with the title ‘Stop Suicide’. Share your story, put together your own words or just say ‘We need things to change, please support Suicide Prevention Day and put the right services in place. Suicide is not inevitable. Give us hope and stand for something better.’"

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