Suicide was illegal in the UK until 1961. The phrase “committing suicide” is associated with a criminal act. Think about it – committing a robbery, committed an assault, etc. It was a crime to take your own life and up to then you could have gone to jail for trying. Thank goodness our attitude towards suicide has changed.
A completed suicide (the preferred phrase now) has a devastating impact on those left behind, the friends and family of the person who believed the only way forward was to take themselves out of the picture. That is a desperate place to be, when you can’t see any future, when you believe there is no point in going on. Those left behind may not understand, may not want to try and understand the depths of despair of their loved one, friend or colleague. But the person who completed suicide could not see any future, there was no hope; such was their despair.
But what about suicides that go wrong? That aren’t completed but leave the person maimed or disabled? That is something they have to live with. Do they think about that? That is something their family and friends have to live with. Do they think about this?
One thing I have learnt and seen and heard is that there is always hope. There is ALWAYS hope. It may be the tinniest glimmer at the end of a very long, dark tunnel. You make look down that tunnel and think that the glimmer of light at the end is a train coming towards you. It is. It is the Hope Train and the great thing about the Hope Train is it slows for you to get on board as it reaches your spot in that dark tunnel. All it takes is for you to reach out and take the hand that is reaching out to help you on board. The choice is yours – take the hand and get on board and join the Hope Train. What will surprise you is who else is on board and what their stories are and together you can move out of that tunnel into the light.
Reach out, take the hand, ask for help.
The Samaritans can be reached on 0845790 9090
Prof. Ella Arensman, President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), inaugurates World Suicide Prevention Day 2015 with a positive message of reaching out and saving lives to prevent suicide across the globe: World Suicide Prevention Day 2015