Posts Tagged ‘suicide prevention week’

My story – Anna shares her experience

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Our Community Support Networks and Peer Support Networks in Glasgow and Angus support both people experiencing thoughts of suicide, and also the friends and family of someone they are worried about. We asked some people involved in the Peer Support Network to share their stories with us. Read *Anna’s story below.

*Please take care if you decide to read this, it necessarily contains discussion of suicidal feelings.*

My dad took his own life when I was 16. Not that anyone told me at the time that’s what happened. At the time it really affected me. I had no emotional support. It set me off down a path that was quite destructive. I spent a lot of time and money trying to get to the bottom of what happened to my dad. It wasn’t talked about by the family, and still isn’t talked about.

I have attempted suicide myself a number of times. Most recently was the most serious. I felt so alone and this felt like the only option. I was in a really difficult place; bullied at work, unable to see my son, had no heating or hot water in my rented house. It was completely overwhelming.

After my last attempt I was taken home once I convinced the psychiatrist that I was ok. It wasn’t until my uncle came to see me a couple of days later and convinced me to phone the hospital that I was admitted. I was taken in that day. I had lots of visitors that I hadn’t seen in a long time, but the one that really impacted me was my best friend. She never cries but she broke down in tears. I’ve known her for 15 years and I’ve never seen her cry. You don’t really think about the impact that you will have on other people, you assume they won’t care that much.

Once I got out of hospital the support from friends has been incredible. In particular the friends that I met in hospital have been great. They understand what I’m going through. My uncle has also helped a lot, he’s busy, but he calls once or twice a week and visits about once a week just to see how I’m doing.

I go to the SAMH group every week, and it’s great. The staff really go above and beyond. I know if I’m in crisis or about to have one I can phone them. They help me through it; I owe my life to them. It also really helps to see that other people are going through what I am.

If I was to speak to someone who was going through what I have, I would tell them to reach out, get help, phone anyone. Even go to the hospital or the police station. Don’t give up on yourself. I still find that hard, but I now always make that phone call rather than coping alone.

If you are having thoughts of suicide please seek help. Our information ‘Living with your thoughts’ may help.

If you are thinking about suicide now and would like to talk to somebody and seek help call

Samaritans 08457 90 90 90

Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87 (Weekday 6pm-2am Weekend 6pm-6am)

NHS 24 08454 24 24 24

If you need immediate medical attention please dial 999 and request an ambulance

*Anna is not the bloggers real name.

My story – Lisa shares her experiences

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Experiencing suicidal thoughts can be very frightening and lonely.

Nobody asks to experience thoughts of suicide and the way that you deal with those thoughts can change constantly. The only things we can say for sure is there is no right or wrong way to feel, and that you are not alone.

Our Community Support Networks and Peer Support Networks in Glasgow and Angus support both people experiencing thoughts of suicide, and also the friends and family of someone they are worried about. We asked some people involved in the Peer Support Network to share their stories with us. Read *Lisa’s story below.

*Please take care if you decide to read this, it necessarily contains discussion of suicidal feelings.*

Suicide. A dark, fragile reality that affects so many. I am writing about it from my own experience. From the sore awareness of the stigma and judgement, to the way I found life again.

As threatening as it may seem to talk about, it’s not nearly as terrifying as feeling alone and cornered in that place. Talking, listening and sharing can save so much life and suffering.

I sometimes still struggle now. But there’s a strong part of me that is pleased I can experience the many lovely moments I do. I still have a chance.

I barely remember feeling… wrong. Like there was a disconnection somewhere. I was here, with those close and dear to me over there. I saw myself as awkward, difficult and too sensitive. I dreamed, idealised, constantly trying to understand and meet perceived expectations. I was trying desperately to get it ‘right’.

As time went on, the overwhelmed feeling rose. The fear burned quietly. I withdrew more, not feeling able to cope. I controlled food, my body and my surroundings, more and more.

The reality felt too much to bear. I took a number of overdoses. Being alive seemed so impossible to get through. Destroying myself was the only option I believed I had. I wanted to disappear.

I’ve read and heard the judgements. ‘Self-pitying girl’. Such dangerous comments to throw about. They can stop people from seeking help and being open about what’s going on for them.

We need room for sensitivity in this world, we’re human beings. Not perfect and not machines. What would we be without feelings, emotions and vulnerabilities?

A few years ago, my soul seemed broken. I’d seen many counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists but something wasn’t working. I kept trying, but was still in such distress. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The stigma was horrendous, even from the medical profession. Then Asperger’s, which I now see explains how I think, see and am.

Through weekly SAMH groups and other support, I’ve learned to find hope and meaningful reasons to keep going. They give an invaluable safe space for those affected by suicide or living with suicidal thoughts to talk, share and listen.

I’m gradually finding my meaning and worth in being. I’m exploring other ways to ride out the storms, finding some solace along the way, learning not lose hope, to identify my feelings and open up to others. I’m learning to accept myself as I am, and the world as it is.

By talking about where our minds have been that week, we can see a little more clearly and make space for trying other ways to cope and distract ourselves from distress.

I’ve found inspiration there, feeling able to find a purpose again, noticing the little things that matter, the reasons to live.

My mind can tell me it won’t help to talk, even that it will makes it worse, but it does help, even just to break its strength and control.

There are so many people out there who care and see your worth, even though you think you don’t deserve it. Even if you feel that you have no choice, even if you can’t see it just now, there is always, always hope. Keep looking… you’re allowed to live.

It’s amazing how reassuring it is to feel understood, to feel (vaguely) human. What a difference a little compassion, support, and appropriate treatment can make. It has helped me build self-trust, strength and courage to grow.

Pain is pain, physical and or emotional. I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel so isolated and alone trying to cope with its extremes. Just because you or others can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real and life-threatening. So please ask, listen and talk about it. It could save so much pain.

Fortunately there are many who are genuinely willing to listen and help you find a reason to keep trying. There is always a reason, which we’ll never know unless we keep looking. Please keep trying to get help that actually helps.

It took me a hell of a long time. I never thought I’d make it to now. But I’m so grateful and pleased I have… there is always hope.

If you are having thoughts of suicide please seek help. Our information ‘Living with your thoughts’ may help.

If you are thinking about suicide now and would like to talk to somebody and seek help call

Samaritans 08457 90 90 90

Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87 (Weekday 6pm-2am Weekend 6pm-6am)

NHS 24 08454 24 24 24

If you need immediate medical attention please dial 999 and request an ambulance

*Lisa is not the bloggers real name.

SAMH staff interventions

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Every day SAMH staff work to prevent suicide. In the last year they have carried out more than 200 interventions, supporting people at their lowest point and helping them to stay safe.

One member of staff shares with us his memory of supporting an ex-serviceman who had reached crisis point.

“I was working in the SAMH office and an ex-serviceman came in, he was desperate and down. He had had his benefits cut through the recent reforms and although he had been very proactive about finding support and speaking to the DWP team it was taking its toll.

I spoke to him for about an hour and half. He had a history of PTSD but generally managed his condition well. The circumstances he found himself in were causing him to have suicidal thoughts. He sat and cried, and I sat with him. We made a Safe Plan and the more we talked the more he came round to the idea that there were still things he could do and people who could help. When he left he was very grateful that I had taken the time just to listen, and give him support.

A month later the same gentleman came in. Things had gone well initially. He had spoken to his GP and the Welfare Rights Officer and felt like he had made progress, but then there had been no follow up. On this occasion he was actively suicidal. He had been walking past the office every day until he saw me, he wanted reassurance and consistency.

This time I did an ASIST intervention, he was very distressed and I asked him to present at A&E. With his permission I phoned ahead to let them know he was coming. Before he left we spoke about the benefits process and I was able to reassure him that it would be ok, it seemed that the benefits office were just focusing on the process and he didn’t have the support in place to get help. He was admitted to hospital for help that day, and discharged a few days later.

The third time I saw him, he came in to thank me. Again, he had been walking past waiting to see me in the office. He had had his benefits reinstated and was managing his mental health well again. He said to me – thank you, I wouldn’t have been here if you hadn’t taken the time to support and reassure me.”

Anyone can support someone who is in crisis you don’t need to be trained. Download our ‘How to Ask’ card for more information on having that life-saving conversation.

Gemma is supporting SAMH’s Open Up campaign – Week Two

Friday, September 13th, 2013

SAMH supporter Gemma Welsh is taking action every day to help more people start their conversation- check out her weekly video diary to see how she’s getting on!

Want to join Gemma in supporting the campaign? Simple actions like the ones in our campaign calendar can help more people Open Up.

This week Gemma reflects on how easy it is and how much it helps to have a proper catch up with a friend.

Watch Gemma’s second Open Up video diary

Dundee Flower and Food Festival – the event itself!

Monday, September 9th, 2013

And show day arrives – hear what SAMH Service Manager Kevin Bruce has to say!

Friday – Day One

The hard work is over and the results are in - drum roll please:

The Evergreen ‘Potager/EATS garden’ received a Silver Medal

The Chrysalis ‘The Amazing Sky Garden’ received a Silver Gilt Medal

SAMH’s ‘A Place To Sit And Talk’ garden received a Silver Medal

Quite a haul when you think about it, congratulations to one and all and thanks for all the hard work, blood sweat and tears. The opening day of the show is usually a quiet chilled out affair, with the big crowds coming in on Saturday and Sunday. Public reaction to the gardens has been fab so far lots of folk commenting on how innovative the designs were. A great deal of positive comments about SAMH as well and I must say hardly anyone this year is saying “what is SAMH”? people are now saying “oh SAMH, I saw the adverts on TV” so the power of the little grey box in every living room seems to have worked. Also got home at a decent time today! Looking forward to the rest of the show now…

Saturday – Day Two

Saturdays at the flower show are by no means the busiest day (that’s usually the Sunday) and I was only scheduled to do a “half shift” but as the day went on it became increasingly busy at the SAMH stall with lots of people asking for info on mental health and taking away lots of leaflets and materials.

The interest in our show gardens continues, people are taking lots of pictures and commenting on how lovely everything looks. Some ladies even ventured into the white garden to take photos…really wish they’d taken their shoes off though as the white decking is now a dirty shade of mud!!

Christine Walkden (The One Show gardener) had a brief wander around and Dave Ross from Evergreen managed to get a pic taken with her! We are hoping she will visit our section tomorrow for a chat, I also had two “glamorous assistants” today as Judith MacKinnon (Director of HR and National Programmes at SAMH) and Karen Gibson (Operations Manager at SAMH) pitched up to talk to the public, hand out leaflets and gardening advice!! I think they may even have sold some herbs!!

Looking forward to tomorrow, final day of the show and then the clear up begins!

Sunday – Day Three

The final day always has a tinge of sadness about it. It’s usually the busiest day so by 4pm we are thinking of tidying up and leaving the site for another year. I also like to review what we achieved so ask the following questions;

Did the public interact with our gardens? Have we handed out more than half of the promotional materials? Were the public inspired by our gardens? Did the majority of visitors recognise SAMH? Did we all have a good show?

The answer to all of the above is a resounding yes, lots of photos were taken, lots of questions about gardening and SAMH and this year, we genuinely had hardly anyone ask what SAMH does which is a big change from previous years.

Today Kirsty Keay (Suicide Prevention National Programme Manager) was interviewed by Bill Torrance of Radio Tay (and gardening guru)! He was also kind enough to pose for photographs with us both. Bill used to present the Beechgrove Garden and he has a lot of responsibility for me taking up horticulture in the first place, he’s always genuinely interested in our displays each year and is an all round “good lad”!

So after yet another extremely busy show it’s all over again. We have dismantled most of the stands and packed everything away to go to Kirkcaldy tomorrow. In February 2014 we will start the whole process again asking our gardeners what they want to do then the designs then the planning and before we know it we will be back at Camperdown Park setting up and constructing and having another cracking time…

Oh and we donated our prize money to SAMH’s Suicide Awareness Campaigns £400 in the bank for Kirsty and her team… Check out the website and find out more about the work of our suicide prevention team.

Gemma’s supporting SAMH’s Open Up campaign

Monday, September 9th, 2013

SAMH supporter Gemma Welsh is taking action every day to help more people start their conversation- check out her weekly video diary to see how she’s getting on!
Want to join Gemma in supporting the campaign? Simple actions like the ones in our campaign calendar can help more people Open Up.

Watch Gemma’s Open Up video diary

What a week!

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Hi everyone, Carolyn Roberts here, back on the blog again. It’s been quite a week here at SAMH, so I wanted to take a couple of minutes to tell you a bit about it.

Last week was Suicide Prevention Week, so there were events going on all over Scotland. Scotland’s national suicide prevention strategy is Choose Life, and its team did a great job of making sure the week got good coverage in the media. Here at SAMH we had several events running: they were all excellent, but one that I particularly want to tell you about is the fundraising bike ride from Dumfries to Glasgow.

This was led by the brother and cousin of Pam Tate, who took her own life last year after a long struggle with mental illness. The Tate family have been fundraising for SAMH all year and I was pleased to be able to show my appreciation by cycling the last couple of miles with the team. (I’m afraid the full 64 miles was beyond me: I’ve managed 50 a couple of times, but that was when I was younger and stupider!)

The team, led by Bruce and Fraser, were in good spirits as we crossed the line, and Pam’s family, friends and colleagues from Glasgow Caledonian University were out in force to support the riders. I’ve been so struck by the resilience and selflessness of the whole family, and it truly was an honour to be alongside them at the finish line. The ride has raised well over £5,000 so far, and you can still make a donation.

The other big event for me last week was getting to attend the final training session of the Scottish Homeless World Cup team, who we’re delighted to be supporting. It was brilliant to see how dedicated and focussed the whole team is in the run-up to their journey out to Brazil. We’ll be adding regular progress updates to our website, so do keep an eye out for that.

All in all, it’s been another hectic and inspiring week that’s reminded me yet again just what a privilege it is to do this job. Don’t tell my boss I said that, though…