The doctor who spoke prior to me was a Consultant Psychiatrist. She spoke about depression. Her take-home message was ‘Depression is treatable.’ There was no mention of suicide. The fact that when depression gets too severe it may result in suicide was not presented to the audience. I wonder why! Are para-suicide and suicide not essential parts of the extreme end of the spectrum of depressive illness? Do they not deserve a mention given the appalling statistics?
If depression is treatable, suicide must be preventable. Maybe it is too simplistic a corollary but it makes sense. Doesn’t it?
In this age of ‘community based’ care of as many patients as possible, proper education of carers and the general public must be top priority. The government does not have the financial, motivational or organizational ability to meet the needs of patients and families. The government also has nothing at stake. We do. It is down to us to educate ourselves. Education is key. Nearly 6000 of us here in the UK die every year as a result of suicide – mostly young people. It’s a huge tragedy. 15-16 individuals everyday!
Today I spoke to a gathering of about 250-300 people about suicide prevention – my first attempt at generating awareness of this epidemic. As I read out the numbers indicating the enormity of the problem the gasps in the room were highly audible. My take home message was – “Let’s talk about it. It is our problem.”
It’s been 6 months and 9 days since he’s been gone. Was it too early to make this presentation? I don’t know. It took everything I had to stand up there and speak about it but it made perfect sense to do it. It’s already too late for me and those like me. But there is still time for many others.