On World Mental Health Day, Poppy Phipps from Coodes Solicitors’ Family team encourages everyone to talk more openly about mental health.
Every year, on October 10th, World Mental Health Day promotes awareness of the effects of poor mental health. This year the focus is on suicide prevention. Suicide is a global issue, it is the leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds and around 800,000 people take their own life every year. This equates to one person every 40 seconds. There are also many more people who attempt suicide.
Although there has been a massive shift in our society to destigmatise mental illness, it is still an issue which touches the lives of millions of people and often goes unrecognised.
Mental illness is said to affect one in four adults, and one in 10 children. A new survey by Public Health England has identified that more than eight in 10 people have experienced early signs of poor mental health in the past year, including anxiety, stress, low mood or sleep troubles.
More than a quarter of people who said that they have experienced signs of poor mental health waited at least six months before taking action to manage it. Almost three quarters of those who waited this long said they wished they had got help sooner.
This year, the suicide rate in the UK has risen to its highest level since 2003 and 2018 saw an 11.8% increase. Every suicide is a tragedy that affects families, communities and the people left behind and many can be prevented.
The World Federation for Mental Health hopes that by making suicide prevention the theme for this year’s World Mental Heath Day, the issue will gain recognition and government attention so that it might be given priority in public health agendas around the world.
Campaigns such as the World Health Organisation’s #40seconds encourages everyone to take 40 seconds of action to improve awareness and knowledge, reduce the stigma associated with suicide and let people who are struggling know that they are not alone.
Similarly, the Time to Change #asktwice campaign encourages us to ask twice if someone is okay. We need to show that we’re genuinely interested in our friends, family members and colleague’s wellbeing and let them know that we are here to listen. The truth is that sometimes when we say we’re fine and okay, we’re not.
If you need support or want to start the conversation with someone, you can contact the following free helplines:
Samaritans offer advice and support and are available to talk to 24/7. The charity is dedicated to reducing feeling of isolation and disconnection that can lead to suicide. Call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is a leading movement against suicide, offering support for men. Call their confidential helpline on 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day. CALM also support those bereaved by suicide through the Support After Suicide Partnership.
Papyrus is a suicide prevention charity for under 35s. They offer confidential advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide. They can be contacted on 0800 068 41 41 Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm and bank holidays 2pm to 5pm. Alternately you can text 07786 209697 or email email@example.com.
Childline is available for young people under the age of 19. They offer free, confidential help and advice on any issue. Call 0800 1111 – the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
You can also request help and support from your GP, by calling 111 and contacting your local mental health crisis team. In Cornwall, the mental health crisis team can be contacted 9am-5pm on 0845 207 7711.