Don’t for one minute think suicide is what happens in other families or to other peoples friends or to a different workplace. It can come to your door swiftly and, often, without any warning.
In Australia hundreds of people die through the act of suicide. The numbers are horrendous. They equate to about 7 people every single day who are driven to taking their own lives.
September has seen our awareness raised through Suicide Awareness Day and RUOK Day. But we need to translate awareness into action and then we need to carry that into the day to day fabric of our lives, both at work and at home.
Suicide is the final desperate act of someone who has lost all hope, for whom the pain of living can no longer be endured. There are many interventions to help prevent it and, for sure, there is no one thing that is the answer.
Usually the people who speak on this subject are professional health workers, psychiatrists, counsellors, doctors, social workers. But the talk I found to be most compelling is the one from a police officer, Sergeant Kevin Briggs, who patrolled the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco for many years and who, in his working life, has talked directly to a huge number of people precariously perched at the side of that bridge about to end their lives.
His account is sobering for sure and heart-breaking at times, but crucially he offers advice that I, for one, am going to make sure I carry into my day to day life.
Be aware to what’s going on around you, be brave if you need to and ask the hard question, give of your time and listen, really focus and listen, to the reply. You just might save a life.
Much more information and resources are all available at Suicide Prevention Australia.