Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male.

Suicide prevention is a public health concern and particularly a concern for men. What is it that can lead someone to think that life is no longer worth living and to take action on that thinking?

I was walking on Beachy Head the other day as the sun was setting on a glorious evening and I was thinking what it would be like to be one of the twenty or so people who fall to their death from those stunning cliffs each year. Suicide is the option when all other options seem closed or impossible; it can seem to provide a welcome release from unbearable pain; it might be an act of revenge or, conversely, an act of love when the person believes that others will be better off without them. Death might offer a sense of relief or release or it might not be that the person is actively seeking death but simply wants the pain of life to stop. Suicide is about disconnection – disconnection from oneself, from others, from the world and a strong antidote to suicidality is connection, again to oneself, to others, to the world.

It is striking that Beachy Head has become a ‘suicide hot spot’. Another, of course, is San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Bridge where almost all people throw themselves off the side of the bridge facing the city rather than facing the lonely view to the ocean.  I wonder if, even in the moment of disconnecting from life, we seek some sort of sense of connection. At Beachy Head, there is a team of chaplains who patrol the area and local pub owner and taxi drivers look out for those at risk. This human intervention is seen as preferable to physical barriers such as high railings.

At SurvivorsUK, we know that people who have been sexually abused or assaulted are at higher risk of suicide and, as the statistics above demonstrate, male survivors will be at a disproportionately higher risk. That’s why we want to let you know that we are here to support you or your loved ones even in extremely difficult times.

Remember, you deserve support, you are not alone, and help is available out there.

If you feel suicidal, here is some advice for you:

  • Reach out and connect with someone. It may feel extremely hard to do this but there are people who care
  • Create a list of simple activities: have a bath, go to the park, ‘phone a friend, watch TV. Work your way through those activities
  • Some people may find it helpful to try some alternative therapies, such as pet therapy, for example. Here is a comprehensive study on the benefits of dogs on mental health
  • There will be other options, but after suicide there are no options. Think of what else you might be able to do right now
  • If you feel you cannot keep yourself safe, go to A&E and explain how you feel
  • If you don’t want to go to A&E, you can also talk to our helpliners about your feelings, or get in touch with Samaritans during our closing times.

The links below also offer wise advice on what to do if you are feeling suicidal:

Katherine, Counsellor and Groupwork Coordinator, SurvivorsUK


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