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Notes From a Mental Health Nurse: Suicide

15 July 19 words: Notes from a Mental Health Nurse
illustrations: Liv Auckland

Each month, our anonymous mental nurse, who has over two decades on experience working in Nottingham, will deal with a specific mental health issue with practical, accessible advice. This month, it's suicide...

It’s the last straw that often triggers an exhausted, sad and weary individual to contemplate taking their own life. It might not seem like a rational response to face death just because your benefits have stopped, your physical health is deteriorating or friends on social media are having a great time without you, but in that moment in time it can seem like the only reasonable option. It’s lonely, frightening and ultimately life-threatening. 

History has taught us that humans are skilled problem-solvers, especially when faced with great difficulties. In my work life, I support many individuals who face these problems on a daily basis, be it depression, anxiety or substance addiction. Thinking about suicide, and even researching and planning it, can make people feel more in control. It’s the ultimate solution to a perceived intolerable hell.

It sounds like a hopeless situation. An inevitable conclusion. Wrong. Suicide is only one solution in a choice of hundreds. So why choose it?

Let somebody in to help you make sense of the turmoil and despair –  after all, “two heads are better than one!” That somebody could be the Samaritans, SANELINE or Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide). In May, a new text support service called SHOUT (Crisis Text Line), supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was also launched.  These are just a few services that can listen without judgement. They are there to reach out to lonely and vulnerable people, who feel isolated and alone with their sadness.

Try to hold on to the fact that any thought or feeling is not permanent. Emotions can change from minute to minute, so don’t do anything impulsively. Look at what you have overcome already and use this strength and determination to seek help. If you are weary, then let somebody guide you.

Samaritans website

SANE website

Papyrus website

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