Help us change the way the NHS views suicide, sign the petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/231772
A few months back I saw a news report on how people who are suicidal are dealt with at A&E. I was shocked that there is no standard response for people in this vulnerable state. I have spent time supporting people who have felt suicidal or having more advanced thoughts about ending their own life, during my time as a counsellor and in my normal life. I want to know that if anyone I love, including myself, is in a place where they can’t see a way through that there is a safety net in place to try and help them see things in a different way.
Fast forward a few weeks and Michelle tells me of a government petition she wants to support and wants to run across the UK to highlight this plight. As soon as she told me, I knew this was something I had to do. I couldn’t sit back knowing that there is a crisis around mental health and not be actively involved in trying to bring about change. So along with the petition team we thought about how we can gain enough signatures for a government response.
So we ran. We ran and we talked to people, to strangers, who opened up to us and spoke of taboos. I could share dozens of tales of real people and their struggles. We started in Wales and the rolling hills and wonderful country roads, also some hellish major roads with no footpaths (don’t tell my mum!). The people were so friendly and warm, people gave us everything we needed to push on. We continued over the border through England, more hills, more cute little towns, collecting friends and signatures all the way. We felt brilliant at times, we felt completely broken at other times. We had fun and we had tears.
And we also social ‘mediaed’ (yes that’s a word now). We social mediaed like we never had before. We Instagramed. We Facebooked. We Tweeted. Filters. Hashtags. Selfies. Vlogs. Blogs. You name it, we did it. All this from the shy girl from New Zealand and the bow-legged dog walker from London!
All the miles and all the pain were worth it to have the connections we shared with people. The petition is just the beginning, I’m in this for the long haul. I feel so privileged to have had the chance to speak with these people and I want there to be more discussions and more support for us all.