Northern Ireland – A country Struggling with Mental Health

August 16, 2018

This post may seem to some as off topic to the normal parenting posts that I write, but this is no less important, in fact, ITS MORE IMPORTANT!

Mental Health, Depression and Suicide.

I read an article today put up by the PSNI Armagh and this is what it said:

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**May contain information upsetting to some and addresses the topic of suicide**

This weekend in ABC district, we dealt with several mental health issues. Some involved the assistance of other units, such as our dog section and air support unit. Some we weren't aware of until it was too late.

On one occasion, our crews arrived at an incident just in time to cut a noose from someones neck. For their privacy, I'm not giving age, gender, or location, but the specifics around it are important. Whatever issues and trauma they'd been through, it had got to a point where ending it all seemed the only remaining option. We were made aware of this because we received a phone call from someone saying they'd seen a concerning message on social media, specifically Snapchat. Due to that call, a life was saved. Our officers body camera footage captured the moment this person jumped. They arrived literally at the last second and were able to save that life. Were it not for that call, we would today be dealing with a fatality.

The worrying thing in all of this is that we only got one call. The person that called us barely even knew the person. At an early stage, we believe that the message sent, which was quite clearly a suicide note, was seen by dozens of people. Only one picked up the phone, and that person only heard about it 3rd hand.

We need, as a society, to start taking mental health and indeed all matters that require urgent attention more seriously.

Whether it be a suicidal person, a burglary in progress, an ongoing drug deal- so often we hear about these things after the fact. For a burglary, ok, people won't necessarily die, but if someone is suicidal...? Your delay could cost a life. I've heard the line, "It's not my business to get involved in." If it were your family, you'd give your house for someone to make it their business if it meant saving a life, so treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

If you are reaching a point of crisis, don't stay silent. Reach out. 

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As I read this post it really got me thinking about mental health in Northern Ireland, and then what people all around the world go through and how hard times must be to put them into that situation where they think there is no alternative but to take their own life!

It frightened me that someone put this plea for help out in front of people on Snapchat and that no one reacted except a vague friend! It’s astounding! If it weren’t for that concerned person, there would almost certainly be a family grieving somewhere today! 

This leads me to two problems that I have with Social Media in relation to this:

1) People who have the odd rough day or couple of days complaining that they are depressed. 

Whilst people can generally feel stressed or worked up, it is almost certainly not depression. Characteristics off people with depression suggest that they don’t publicise and carry it themselves. And with people posting online and throwing about the term “depressed” detracts from people who may need help online and may feel that they are only trying to steal a spotlight or attract attention for posting about how they truly feel.

2) We can like/share/pray for and hashtag whatever we like when a tragic event unfolds due to mental health & suicide on social media, but without practical help or support then it can be rendered useless. It’s almost the same as when there is a global disaster, awareness online is limited…liking and sharing doesn’t help. 

I have the opinion that social media can create a false sense of help, people think they are helping by liking and sharing, but it may never help anyone in real crisis. How would you know the signs if someone were in dire need? Would you know what to say or do? Could you volunteer your time to a mental health charity?

This link can provide you with a guide on what to look out for:

http://www.aware-ni.org/helping-someone-with-depression.html

I read an article lately in the Guardian newspaper:

More people have taken their own lives in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday agreement than were killed in political violence during the Troubles between 1969 and 1997, the latest regional figures on suicide reveal.

The statistics on the state of mental health in the region show that since the peace deal about 4,500 suicides were registered in the region.

An estimated 3,600 people died in shootings, bombings and other killings during the Troubles.

Source: 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/feb/20/northern-ireland-suicides-troubles-death-toll

If you were asked under what circumstances have there been the most tragedies in Northern Ireland you would almost certainly think it was because of The Troubles, but sadly not – Suicide rates in Northern Ireland are climbing fast. 

That’s an alarming statistic considering the size of Northern Ireland. And as I type this post I have learned of another suicide in Derry, and thoughts go out to that family at this difficult time! And they are now in similar situations as the many other families that have been through this ordeal.

Northern Ireland needs more money invested into Mental Health Care to help prevent this happening to many more families in the future, but until our government returns this won’t happen.

It doesn’t matter where you are in life, like me married with 3 kids and stay at home or you’re in a 50 hour a week job, or you have everything you could imagine, depression is a real thing. It can get to anyone at anytime, and can stay with you for a long time. 

Support your local mental health charity, volunteer on the phones, hand out fliers, even just share their telephone numbers with your friends and families somewhere, and remember that people who suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts and tendencies don’t always have the appearance you would expect.

Sit down and talk to your friends, not via a few comments on a status or Facebook post or Instagram picture. And if you feel concerned about their behaviour or the way they talk then raise the alarm! You could be the one that saves that person’s life!

Here are some helpful numbers and websites if you would like more information or if you need someone to talk to – feel free to drop me an email or message me on instagram / Facebook if you need (Always Confidential).

Or speak to your GP, or a Friend or Family Member! 

and remember, ITS OK NOT TO FEEL OK

Samaritans – for everyone 
Call 116 123 
Email jo@samaritans.org

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men 
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day 

Webchat is available on their website

Papyrus – for people under 35 
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm 
Text 07786 209697 
Email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Northern Ireland Association For Mental Health

028 8676 6619

Aware NI

028 7126 0602

LifeLine - 0808 808 8000

https://youtu.be/w2-R7lBfx-k?list=UU8iP21NcwE5OKWef_dLjaww

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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©2018 by JamesyNI.
All thoughts here are my own.