World suicide prevention Day 2018
As a Mental Health Lawyer I speak with people almost every day that live with mental health problems. Often they have experienced suicidal thoughts or, worse still, have tried to take their own lives.
I also act for the families of those people who have taken their lives and I see their pain, their desperate thoughts about what they could have done to prevent that tragedy.
Statistics report that every 90 minutes in the UK a person attempts to take their own life.
Suicide Prevention Day is observed on 10 September each year to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides. Various events and activities are held during this occasion to raise awareness that suicide is a major preventable cause of premature death.
There has been so much positive press recently about stamping out the stigma associated with mental illness and raising awareness is fantastic but is it enough?
Nearly 3000 people on average commit suicide daily, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and for every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives.
This morning I was representing a client before the Mental Health Tribunal. My client has suffered suicidal thoughts in the past but has made a great recovery as a result of hard work, determination and the support of family and mental health professionals.
There is strong evidence indicating that adequate prevention can reduce suicide rates.
Intervention by mental health services is vital and can be a lifeline to people who feel that there is no option but to end their lives yet these resources remain underfunded and understaffed. I spoke with a Social Worker today who told me that his team are constantly under resourced meaning that they can’t get out to people as quickly as they would like and can’t support people as much as they need to be supported.
We need to continue to raise awareness, to support the most vulnerable amongst us in any way that we can but the Government also needs to listen and understand that prevention is the key to lowering these horrific statistics. More funding is needed, more resources are required because it literally is a case of life or death.
Melanie Lidstone-Land and the Mental Health team at Swain & Co Solicitors regularly assist patients who are detained under the Mental Health Act. Melanie also supports and represents bereaved families through the Inquest process.
If you need help, representation, assistance or just advice please call on 023 92 483322.