Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Effective suicide prevention is probably invisible.

When I look a the whole issue of suicide in New Zealand all I see is confusion, compounded by lot's of people running around saying a lot but really achieving little.
I see charities and charitable trusts running different? courses and workshops to teach people about suicide prevention.
I see individuals running up and down the country claiming to have all the answers, refusing to collaborate with anyone else and in some cases ridiculing and writing off other peoples ideas and views.
I see bored people.
I seem to see more and more hands out asking for donations.

Most of all, I see people not taking any notice of anything because it doesn't affect them.
Those words right there are the key in my opinion.
If it doesn't affect them directly, people don't care, they switch off.

Don't get me wrong, anything and everything that is being done by groups or individuals with a view to preventing suicide can't be a bad thing, unless the motivation behind is either to do with ego or money.

Personally, I have nothing other than opinion and what I've learned along the way.
I've never attended any suicide prevention workshops or courses and to be honest, I'm not sure that I ever will.
I will attempt to explain the reasons why.
When it comes to suicide, we generally get bombarded with two words.
Awareness and Prevention.
I believe that everyone is aware of suicide, but until it directly effects them, it's just a word or something that happens to other people.
When we talk about prevention, people are frightened off because they think it means taking the rope off someone, wrestling the gun or the blade from their hand or physically pulling them back from the cliff edge.
There's the issue.
People don't understand what Suicide Prevention means.

To me, and I've said this a hundred times before, effective suicide prevention is probably invisible.
Of course, there will always be those people who through no fault of anyone's succumb to illnesses of the mind, just like there will always be those who succumb to physical illness and I openly admit that I have no real interest in that side of things.
My interest is in what can be changed.

I believe that when people hear the words 'suicide prevention' the first picture that comes to mind is that of a person who is right on the edge, about to end their own life, which is why people shy away from it.
Real suicide prevention needs to start a long way before this point.

Invisible suicide prevention.
I believe that with the education of children and adolescents, the suicide numbers can be reduced. Not 100% prevented, but significantly reduced.
If young minds can be educated and nurtured to be accepting of everyone else and all their differences, other young minds might feel less separated or alone.
With the learning of some coping strategies for dealing with different emotional situations, people will be more resilient when bad times hit.
With simple human kindness and empathy, we may be unwittingly preventing future suicides.

Over the coming months I'm going to launch into a small campaign I'm working on to expand on all of this.
I just think the runaway train needs to be knocked off it's rails because frankly it seems to be thundering along to the station of nowhereville, and it's in a real hurry to get there.