This TED talk resonates a lot with me.
Most of us have either experienced first hand or heard about or known someone who has been in or around the experience of suicide. This lovely man makes an incredibly simple and profoundly true point, based on his own experience of saving hundreds of people from suicide. It’s worth listening to his story, but to sum it up if you’re lazy and don’t want to read it, remember one of the most important things you can ever do to prevent someone’s suicide or get them out of that black hole that precedes it, is just LISTEN.
It’s all very well to dismiss responsibility about suicide of those we love or even just know to a failure in psychiatrists or psychologists or eve “the system”. Yes it’s wonderful that in many places there is a decided effort to make mental health assistance more widespread and available.
The truth is that most suicidal people (meaning, any average person who suddenly or for a period has thoughts about suicide and may at some point put them into practice, so that’s LOADS of people) will probably need someone who listens when THEY decide to talk, rather than organised though well-meaning support, especially when this support (such as one to one counsellors, probably the best option) is to be paid for (naturally, who can work for free? But suicidal people who see no hope are often people who do not have many financial resources).
So, if you are too poor to afford a counsellor/psychologist all to yourself, and not poor or crazy enough to have it offered for free by the NHS, who on earth do you go to to TALK it through?
And this is the crazy thing. That the people mentioned by Kevin in his talk finally found someone who would listen only as they were about to jump!
In England, this is even more common: people feel isolated and think it’s normal, they think it is weird if their friend starts talking deep talk about feelings, hopelessness, mental anguish… or very drunk, which is usually when people open up enough in this country to actually admit anything troubling them. But it’s not just England. Friends are the first and foremost defending knights against suicide, but friends, by choosing to simply be present and available to listen and making it clear they are ready to listen, could easily replace most antidepressants and clinical psychiatrists.