REV SEAN BLACKMAN: Help is at hand from Samaritans if you’re feeling low at Christmas

The Samaritans are there to listen when things get too much for you              Picture: Adam Petto
The Samaritans are there to listen when things get too much for you Picture: Adam Petto
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The rev opens up about a family tragedy

A NUMBER of years ago, I remember having a disagreement with a friend about the theme song of both the M*A*S*H movie and television show, Suicide is Painless.

I agreed with my friend that the song had a beautiful melody. Where I disagreed with them was the constant refrain throughout the song that ‘Suicide is Painless’.

Suicide is not painless. According to the Mental Health Foundation, in 2016 5,668 suicides were recorded in Great Britain.

Of these, 75 per cent were male and 25 per cent were female. Between 2003 and 2013, 18,220 people with mental health problems took their own life in the UK.

In fact, suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales.

A study, published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2004, revealed that New Year’s Day is the holiday associated with the highest number of suicide attempts.

The researchers suggest that more suicides are attempted at the beginning of the week because the period represents a ‘fresh start’ but depressed individuals believe their life circumstances remain unchanged and are disappointed.

Suicide is not painless.

Our family know this through experience. We lost a member of our family through suicide.

Outwardly, he had everything going for him – a family that loved him unconditionally, a wife who adored him, and he was surrounded by friends who both respected and admired him.

Yet he experienced a pain that no pain-killer seemed to be able to reach.

It is important to know that people do get through this. Many people who contemplate suicide are able to move past their feelings and improve their outlook on life when healthcare professionals give them coping mechanisms and they are given emotional support.

It is important to know there is someone you can talk if we are having suicidal thoughts.

Talking with someone on the phone can really make a difference, as thousands who have used the Samaritan helpline have discovered.

Whatever we are going through, we can call the Samaritans free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

Samaritans offer a person on the other end of the phone who is caring and wants to hear our story.

For more information go to samaritans.org.