Why we all need to talk about suicide prevention
Please note - this article references suicide. Please look after yourself if this is a difficult topic for you to read about.
Globally, someone loses their life to suicide every 40 seconds. Too many lives are destroyed by something so preventable. For this blog, Ida Väisänen recounts having it all – a dream job, a loving family and close friends – and yet, still feeling suicidal.
My life changed forever two years ago when I became ill with severe depression. No article, blog post or a documentary on depression can fully express what it does to you. Every second of every single day was indescribable mental and physical pain. This went on for months. When I was hospitalised, my head was too heavy to hold up, so I had to lie against the consultant’s table.
Before hospitalisation came the rock bottom. One beautiful summer’s day I sealed an envelope with a letter to my parents, closed the door behind me with every intention of ending my life.
To anyone looking at my life from the outside would’ve said that I had it all: a job that was my childhood dream, a loving family and close friends. In my rational head I was fully aware that I had an amazing life. I just didn’t want it.
With time, counselling and the right medication I was able to take steps forward on this painstakingly long road: first smaller, then bigger.
Being on the brink of taking your own life is something that nobody who hasn’t been there will ever fully understand. It’s so illogical, it goes against every human instinct. Our breathing is involuntary. Our brains shut down when facing something that it considers too traumatic. Our bodies care about one thing and one thing only: keeping us safe.
Why would you choose to go against something that is so fundamentally human?
The best answer I can give is what my mum told me when I apologised to her for trying to die despite having such a great life: “None of that matters when you’re ill.”
What saved my life that day was a fence that was too high for me to climb. The resources that followed saved my life countless times after that. With time, counselling and the right medication I was able to take steps forward on this painstakingly long road: first smaller, then bigger.
Changing the bedding. Washing my hair. Getting a part-time job as a waitress after spending a year in bed.
Two years on my life looks very different. This week I started a new job. I thought I’d never write again for a living but I am.
That’s what I would like to tell the girl who was desperate to escape.
This is why we all need to talk about suicide prevention.
This is why.
• In 2018 there were 6,507 registered suicides in the UK, the first increase since 2013
• 3 in 4 suicides were men. Males aged 45-49 being the highest at risk group
• Suicide rates amongst young women between 10 and 25 have increased the most in the last six years.
Download our supporting someone with suicidal thoughts fact sheet