This post discusses suicide so please be aware content may be triggering. No methods will be discussed.
So the stats are in for 2018 and for the first time in ten years the rate of suicide in the UK has gone up. And it’s not a small increase. The rate has increased by 11.8%. So why suddenly are we having an about turn, with suicide once again on the rise?
There are obviously many theories to the increase and of course we can never be a hundred per cent sure why more people are dying by suicide, but here are a few things I feel may be contributing to the increase. Of course I’m not an expert and this is just my opinion.
One of the groups most effected by the increase in suicides was the under 25s. The rate of suicide for this age group increased by 23.7%. Why is there such an increase in this age group? Obviously the big thing that people will say is that it’s down to social media and I understand this in that if young people are bullied it’s constant and doesn’t go away when they get home. But it’s not the full answer. There is a lot of pressure on young people to achieve in exams and go to university and get a high powered job as well as living a wonderful lifestyle. That’s not going to help. If you feel like you’re failing it’s going to impact on your mental health. The main reason though, that I feel is to blame, is the lack of funding in mental health services for children. Yes we are identifying mental illnesses in children and young people more than ever before but what good is that when we can’t support them with it. Being told something is wrong with you but you’re not ill enough to get help hurts. It can cause further drops in your health and make you feel worthless. It’s all very well encouraging people to talk but what happens when there is noone there to listen?
With every age group there are problems with access to mental health care. We simply have more need than resources can meet. People are slipping through the net. And even if you do get to see a mental health professional they are so busy that they can not always give the care that is needed. More money and more access to talking therapies would be a great start to helping reduce the suicide rate.
Men are again the most likely group to die by suicide. This hasn’t changed. This is worrying considering the amount of effort that has been put into trying to help men seek help. This can only mean there is more to do. We still keep hearing the phrase “man up” a lot and men being put down for talking about their feelings. Why is such a bad thing for a man to feel something and discuss it? At the end of the day they are human too. Humans need support. It is not a bad thing. It does not make you weaker than anyone else, in fact it is a strong thing to admit you need help.
This leads to another big issue that surely cannot be helping the suicide rate and that is stigma. Yes it still exists and not just with the general population but within mental health services too. Yes, we seem to have a greater understanding of depression and anxiety but other mental illnesses are overlooked. My personal experience with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder is that because my mental illness is different it isn’t always understood, even by mental health professionals. This leads to stigma. Stigma grows in lack of knowledge. Therefore maybe we need to be educating people more in the different mental illnesses so they are understood and people are able to offer help before it’s too late.
Overall we need to look at many different aspects to get the suicide rate going down again. It is an issue for the whole of society. We all have a part to play. For more information on the suicide rate statistics check out the Samaritans website. They can also offer support if you are feeling suicidal. You can also check out the crisis lines in the menu at the top. Feel free to comment your thoughts here or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
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