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Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

Mental Health Awareness Week

13th – 19th May 2019

Suicide Prevention


As a Mental Health Lawyer I have experience of my client’s feeling low and desperate, sometime this is bad enough for them to want to take their own lives.  I have experience of client’s who I have worked with for many years taking their own lives and then guiding their families through the inquest process afterwards.

It made me feel powerless and deeply sad.  I am their lawyer, I can try to put myself in their shoes and those of their family but it is very hard and I find it incredibly difficult to imagine the fear and the pain that they must experience.

I am a “people person”.  I like to get to know my clients, try to understand their situation and it follows, therefore, that I am also interested in the facts relating to mental health and suicide rates.   I listen to the news and follow a number of mental health charities on social media.

This morning I was working at home and listening to the radio when an article on the news caught my attention relating to an organisation called “Zero Suicide Alliance” whose aim is to rid the UK of suicide using an approach of linking with appropriate CCG’s and NHS Trust partners as well as providing online suicide prevention training.

I know that some people might think that to rid the country of suicide is an unattainable ideal but is it?  If we all did the online training and then encouraged our friends and family to do so too, perhaps we could all of us make a difference?  If nothing else, raised awareness of this issue is a good thing.

The statistics are frightening –

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women. 

That means that more men die at their own hands than by any other means, that is truly a staggering statistic and this is before we even start to look at the statistics for teenagers, women suffering from Post Natal depression – the lists go on and on.

I am fortunate enough to work for a firm who has made a commitment to support their employees in relation to their mental health.   I am hoping that by looking at this article and visiting organisations websites such as others will be encouraged to undergo training.

I have 20 minutes left in my lunch hour, so I am going to do the Suicide Prevention training because I want to be a positive statistic – part of the statistic that helps raise awareness and in doing so helps save lives.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

Melanie Lidstone-Land is a Mental Health lawyer working at Swain & Co Solicitors.  Melanie regularly assists clients’ with matters relating to their treatment or detention under the Mental Health Act.  Melanie represents her clients and their families before the Mental Health Review Tribunal and offers support and representation through the Inquest process. Call today to speak with Melanie on 023 92 483322.



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