Monday the 12th was suicide awareness day. Anyone who has lost someone to suicide will know the importance of the date. They will also know the exact date their loved one killed themselves.
We lost a friend to suicide and it’s still not sunken in. The warning signs are not giant red flags, often there are no signs at all. Wives, husband, brothers, sisters and colleagues, are left to examine what they could have done to stop it, as well as deal with the pain and the shock of their loss.
Some people think suicide is a coward’s way out. I don’t agree. Some people think it’s the most selfish of acts. I don’t agree with that either. I think, to get in a place where ending your life seems the only answer, all other rationale has long since stopped applying to decisions.
This column is dedicated to Bryn and to male suicide, referred to as ‘the silent killer’. It is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
Statistics reveal 84 men take their own life each week. Add to that, the number of people affected by the death, and the rates of suicide spread far wider.
Suicide charities have listed warning signs that someone might be feeling suicidal. They include major changes to sleeping patterns, weight gain or weight loss. An increase in minor illnesses and a loss of interest in personal hygiene or appearance.
Other changes in behaviour include alcohol or drug misuse, withdrawal from family and friends and quitting activities that were previously important.
How many of our friends show these signs and are not suicidal? Even if all the signs are there, what can we do to help?
We are a society who avoid phone calls and only respond to texts, and we are too busy to write them properly ‘Hope U OK. C U L8?’. We are so caught up in our busy lives that we don’t have time to examine those of others.