Journal of Family Health Care editor Penny Hosie hopes to see the taboo lifted on suicide:
The celebratory parade of Olympic and Paralympic athletes on Monday was bittersweet. For all its fabulous and flamboyant celebration of achievements, it also signified closure.
So it's hardly surprising that a campaign signifying closure of another kind received little attention, except on Twitter.
World Suicide Prevention Day (sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and co-sponsored by the World Health Organisation) aims to highlight one of life's last taboo subjects. According to them, suicide claims the lives of almost 3,000 people every day.
What's more concerning is the facts behind the figures. A higher than average proportion of these deaths are young men: WHO figures show that suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group. These figures do not include suicide attempts which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide. Concerning too are the recent tragic high profile cases of teenagers being driven to suicide because of face to face and online bullying - collectively these seem to signify a worrying upward trend.
A story posted today about children living with alcoholic parents also reminded me of a university friend, whose father committed suicide when she was just 15, leaving her to grieve while continuing to live as an only child with her alcoholic mother. Two other friends were similarly bereaved as teenagers - both losing fathers to suicide.
And yet it is still a taboo subject. Last month a survey commissioned by the Samaritans and YouGov asked: Would you talk to someone if you were feeling suicidal? One third of respondents said they wouldn't, at all. Part of the aim of World Suicide Prevention Day is to break down this stigma, to get people to open up and talk to people if they have suicidal feelings.
In this vein, mental health charity Mind has published a guest blog by a young woman called Charlotte, who openly admits to spending "a large part of my life thinking about killing myself".
In her moving and succinct blog Charlotte suggests ways to try and challenge the taboo of suicide by starting a conversation about the issue. She namechecks NICE for recommending that healthcare professionals ask depressed clients directly about suicidal thoughts or plans. She ends by saying: "The times when I have found someone willing to listen to me, rather than trying to “talk me out of it”, have been a great relief. Sharing the feelings with a supportive listener can dilute their power, so that I feel less likely to act upon them."
Let’s get this conversation going. It might save somebody’s life.
To read all of Charlotte's blog visit http://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com or http://www.mind.org.uk/blog/5626_let_s_talk_about_suicide
To read more from Penny visit www.jfhc.co.uk