3,000 people commit suicide every day. Every 30 seconds, the loss of a person taking his or her own life shatters the lives of family and friends. You often hear about it, never expecting it might happen to you or someone you love. Until it does.
Over the Christmas period, my girlfriend’s sister committed suicide. Mental health seems to have been marked as one of the reasons. I, like many who are blessed with never having suffered from any real mental health conditions, often don’t give the issue of mental health much thought, nor the exacerbating circumstances that our society creates for the condition. Until of course, it happens to someone you know, hammered home by the knowledge that this person was an aspiring accountant, a graduate and a mere 24 years of age.
Many of us go through our own relative struggles, some larger than others, yet an issue like mental health can creep up on the most unlikely of individuals. The reality is that mental health affects millions of young people today. It’s prevalent in today’s generation more so than ever, becoming an epidemic amplified by the current economic climate. We are constantly being told to submit to societal demands; get a degree, get a job, get paid. A true fairy tail in all but reality.
The reality is of course that most of us end up getting a degree which sends us into debt. Then when you try and get a job with that degree it quite often ends up not being in the field you wanted, as competition has become fierce since degrees have become commonplace. In debt and in a low-wage job, joining the housing ladder becomes less and less possible as house prices spiral. This leaves us two choices, join the private rental market and try and survive the eye-watering rents or live at home with your parents.
With this complete lack of progression in our lives and the cost of living becoming ever more expensive, it’s not surprising that people, especially young people, are feeling abandoned by our society. Not to mention the routine closures of youth services countrywide.
So we close ourselves off and go online. The social media bubble is often suggested to be simply a reflection of our society, but if that were true, we would all be incredibly happy all the time, which if statistics are to be trusted doesn’t quite add up. We often only show and share trivial updates or our happiest moments on social media. This often makes us feel individually isolated as it seems everyone else is doing well, but you.
Our society has never needed properly funded mental health services more than now. Our society has become toxic to our minds and we need to react and make sure this already incredibly high number of sufferers doesn’t keep rising.
However, until such time that we decide to exit from this masochistic economic policy we are currently inflicting on ourselves collectively, we must stand together as a community. One in fifteen people have made a suicide attempt in their life and around three-quarters of suicides in the UK are done by males.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out. Whether it’s family, friends, a professional or someone you’ve come across on a social media site that openly shares their mental illness battle. To anyone reading this … you are not alone and just because you aren’t suffering from a mental health illness, it doesn’t mean you might not know someone who is fighting an internal battle. We must all come together, be open to listening and most importantly communicate with each other about our lives, our problems and our joys. Not just the standard ‘yep, all good’.
Mental health related suicide sends a shock wave through the victim’s family, friends and everybody involved. It is an act that not only takes a life but drastically alters all lives around it. Watching day by day how this act has affected my girlfriend and her family has truly shown me how important it is to listen, truly listen to someone, and always communicate what your feelings are.
My girlfriend’s family are currently in the process of raising money for her sister’s funeral, a surprisingly costly affair with additional money raised going to support others with mental health issues. Read her story on the link below and if you have anything to spare please donate:
If you feel that you or someone you know is at risk of taking their own life, please visit the link below for help and advice: