With World Suicide Prevention day coming on 10th September, I would like to share a few thoughts.
People seem to have to cope with a lot more pressure now than they ever have. Whether it’s the pressures of parenthood, school, the latest fashion / trend or just trying to copy the ‘picture-perfect’ lifestyles of Instagram because as the cool kids say, they are ‘doing it for the gram.’ It’s not real life. This can lead to us setting unachievable goals for ourselves or feeling that life sucks because we can’t keep up with Kardashians or whoever the next social media celebrity may be.
Some people can struggle and become depressed because their live isn’t the picture-perfect life they see on social media. This is why having a strong support network is important.
Unfortunately, there are people out there who don’t feel they can’t talk to anyone & they think that the world would be better off without them and the only way to deal with this pressure is for them not to be here. But every life is precious.
Northern Ireland has the highest suicide rate in the UK but funding for all Mental Health services is 25% less than the rest of the UK. This means that Mental Health organisations can’t possibly help everyone affect by mental health & suicidal thoughts.
As parents we put pressure on ourselves to be the perfect mum or dad. We see parents on TV and social media who look amazing and make parenting look easy. But the reality is that sometimes we are so tired we look like we have gone 10 rounds with Anthony Joshua and that a successful day can just mean getting through the day in one piece.
Before becoming a dad, I had an unrealistic view of what parenthood would be like. I thought that I wouldn’t have the child who had tantrums in the middle of Tesco and that my kids would be angels and would always do what they are told. What a fool I was because my kids have done all the things I thought they wouldn’t. At the start it really annoyed me and at times I thought I was a sh*t dad and it wasn’t meant for me. But after a while I realised it was that I wasn’t a bad parent. I was raising kids and sometimes they are annoying and unpredictable and make you look and feel like an incompetent baboon.
Well I believe that we, as parents, have an obligation to teach our children that it is ok to ask for help. It’s ok to be different. It’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to be you. Because at the end of the day, everyone is different but most importantly nobody is perfect.
The suicide rate in males in Northern Ireland is higher that females. Why? Is it that males think that ‘men’ shouldn’t talk about feelings? Or that asking for help is a sign of weakness?
One of things I fear most as a dad, is that my sons would feel that they couldn’t or shouldn’t talk about how they are feeling; if they are sad, scared or worried. Even though my boys are only 5 & 2, myself & Mrs B always tell them that they can tell us anything & that no matter what they tell us or what they do, we will always love them. We encourage them to talk about how they are feeling. We don’t tell them they are being silly. We try to make sure that they never get put off talking to us.
Men generally struggle to talk about how they are feeling or to admit they are not ok but it doesn’t make you less of a man to talk to someone. Asking for help in your time of need is an act of bravery and one that should be encouraged. We need to look out for each other, so let’s start by asking each other how we are.
We have been given the ability to communicate with each other, so we should do it! It doesn’t matter whether you are happy, sad, depressed or think your life isn’t worth anything. Just talk to someone because it matters. You matter.
There are many charities that are doing amazing work in this area, from Lifeline to the Samaritans… there is always someone at the end of a phone.
A charity close to my heart is Turning Point NI. They are a suicide crisis centre based in Ballymena & Antrim. They have helped many people in the local area who are, or have been, in crisis. They were started by an amazing local woman, Trudi Hall, who saw a need in her community & wanted to do something about it. They provide support and therapeutic intervention on a 1:1 basis, either over the phone or in one of their drop-in centres. They are staffed by an amazing team of volunteers. For more information on Turning Point NI check out their Facebook page.
Don’t struggle alone!
Bearded with Boys.