On November the 16th 2015 the M42 motorway in Bromsgrove and A38 were closed for a total of 26 hours whilst police tried to negotiate with a man threatening to throw himself off the bridge. Thankfully, the man was eventually led away by the police and helped to find support with local mental health services.
The impact of this event though brought with it a realisation that for many in today’s’ society the inconvenience of this experience at a personal level appeared to far outweigh the desperate situation at hand – one where a human being was questioning his own mortality; his reason for living.
Social Media was inundated with messages of frustration regarding the perceived ineffective handling of the situation by the police as well as the inconvenience to the public experienced at the mercy of one man and his perceived selfish behaviour with some people even goading online that the man should jump.
In a recent correspondence to Solihull News, a local Councillor asked the question
“What is going on in this country now? We cannot have singletons, whatever their health problems, holding the general public to ransom in this way.”
But we need to stop and think. Who is this ‘singleton?’ Somebody’s’ Son, Father, Husband, Brother, Uncle, friend. Suicide rates across the country are increasing and this is an upward trend that appears will continue for the foreseeable future.
We need to acknowledge that in times of recession and with all the hardship it brings, many people find it difficult to cope; and many find it difficult to go on and some seriously contemplate taking their own life – and we are in a deep recession. People are struggling. They are losing their jobs, they are losing their houses, they are losing their place in society, they are losing their identity – and for some regardless of the mental health status, they are losing sight of their reason for living. They can see no way out of the pain they are in. They are not looking to inconvenience anybody. They are not looking to hold anybody to ransom. They are in a dark place from which they can see no escape except through death by suicide.
Although frustrations are understandable, there is no value in blame; be it the police or the person at risk. We need to consider solutions. We need to consider a way forward for the benefit of everybody. These solutions can only be found through a joined up effort involving all sectors of society.
Councillors, local authorities, criminal justice, education, Public Health and front line health and social care services across the board have to take seriously their responsibility in this matter. Local Mental Health and Well Being Boards need to address this issue as a priority. Local strategies need to be developed and implemented. The stigma and taboo associated with suicide needs to be realised and addressed.
Suicide is not a mental illness. Suicide is about humans considering no longer ‘being’ and we need to stop this from happening.
So at Forward for Life, we say
“What is going on in this country now? We should not have people, whatever their situation, however alone they feel, believing that death by suicide is an option to consider.”
Forward For Life believe that Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse. Suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better.