15 August 2014

Suicide is not inevitable

Robin_Williams250Media reporting and social media comment following the death of Robin Williams has highlighted a lack of understanding of depression and opened up something of a public discussion.

Comments such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tweet "Genie, you're free" have been well-intentioned but ill-judged. The comment by a TalkSports reporter that he had 'no sympathy' for suicide was plain ignorant. Concerns have been voiced that inappropriately detailed reporting could contribute to increased suicide risk in other vulnerable people. And mental health professionals in particular are concerned that some of the discussion implies that suicide is almost an inevitable outcome of long-term severe depressive illness and paints an inaccurate picture of long waits for services.
AWP colleagues are countering all of these concerns, making it clear that suicide is neither inevitable nor liberating.

AWP consultant nurse Chris Ellis is a leader in the field of suicide prevention. Chris stresses, "Suicide CAN be prevented. Suicide is an incredibly complex issue and is rarely a result of a single specific issue, such as money problems, in a person's life. There are things that a person considering suicide can do; seeking and accepting help from friends, relatives or professionals is vital. Someone actively contemplating suicide is unlikely to be able to problem solve or think clearly if they are feeling desperate and help from others can literally be life saving. As well as services such as LIFT, people who are considering suicide can access the Samaritans, or Papyrus for young people, and individuals with depression can access services such as the Depression Alliance.

Chris adds, "I would say that the suggestion from some of the comments this week that suicide sets a person free from depression gives a false impression that people living with depression cannot overcome it, which is not the case.

"It also avoids the devastating effect that suicide has on the loved ones of the deceased. Recovery from depression is within everyone's grasp and the right support from others is available."

Rick Cooper, manager of Bristol's LIFT Psychology service, explains, "Over the last decade there have been big advances and increases in the evidence-based treatments and services for depression including psychological therapies services, to which anyone registered with a GP can go directly with no referral.
"As well as in Bristol, we have LIFT Psychology services in South Gloucestershire, Bath, Wiltshire and Swindon - where the service was pioneered - and a similar service, Positive Step, in North Somerset. We run rolling programmes of group courses in coping with depression, extremes of mood, anxiety and stress, which are free to attend. We also offer guided self-help including book recommendations and computerised therapy programmes. People don't need to have a diagnosis to come to us, or to even speak to their GP first - we welcome anyone experiencing any of these very common conditions."
For many people, the help provided by LIFT helps them to manage and overcome their depression, anxiety or stress, preventing the condition from becoming more serious. But people experiencing more serious depression can get help through their GP. Rick says, "Never worry about talking to your GP about a mental health issue. GPs will often be able to treat depression directly but they can also refer patients for specialist treatment which these days is designed to have minimal impact on a a person's normal everyday life."

You can find details of our LIFT services via this link. http://lift.awp.nhs.uk/


Samaritans - 08457 90 90 90

Confidential Young Suicide Prevention Advice:
HOPELineUK 0800 068 41 41
SMS: 07786 209697
email: pat@papyrus-uk.org



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