ELISE BREWERTON: Take a minute to change a life

Samaritans are there for when you are struggling to cope. Reporter Elise Brewerton is swimming the Solent to raise money for the charity. ''''Picture: Shutterstock
Samaritans are there for when you are struggling to cope. Reporter Elise Brewerton is swimming the Solent to raise money for the charity. ''''Picture: Shutterstock
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I produced my first newspaper aged seven.

It was called the Fletcher Family Newspaper and it chronicled the everyday lives of my huge extended family.

I bashed away at an old typewriter my dad found in the loft and gave it to my delighted aunties to read.

What a swot, eh?

I’d always wanted to be a journalist – a Lois Lane uncovering mysteries, shedding light on shady politicians.

And I’ve done a fair bit of that – along with summer fairs and ruby wedding anniversaries. No cats stuck up trees though.

But, as an aspiring reporter, I had no idea that a big part of my time would be spent at coroners’ courts.

Sunday was World Suicide Prevention Day. The theme this year was ‘Take a minute to change a life’.

I’ve sadly witnessed so many families devastated by suicide who, when giving evidence at inquests say ‘We had no idea he was depressed’.

Or ‘She never told us she was feeling so low’.

Often, people who take their own lives simply cannot bring themselves to articulate the turmoil they are feeling.

There is so much pressure to present a happy, beaming face to the world.

But suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50 in the UK.

And three times more people die by taking their own lives than from road traffic accidents.

Next month I’m swimming the Solent for Samaritans.

It’s not far, just over a mile-and-a-quarter. And if I get tired I can tread water for a bit, take a breather.

But so many people feel they are hardly managing to tread water and the only way out is suicide. Samaritans are there for when people are struggling to cope. Last year they received almost six million calls for help.

Their vision is that fewer people die by suicide.

I’m swimming to keep this amazing service going.

n If you need help, call Samaritans on 116 123.

Elise Brewerton is deputy features editor at The News. She is swimming to the Isle of Wight for Samaritans in October. To sponsor her, go to bit.ly/2vL5AhZ.