Awareness

Suicide is the greatest cause of death amongst young men aged between 16 and 34 in the UK and young men are three times more likely to take their own lives than young women.

In 2014 there were 6,122 recorded suicides in the UK (a decrease of 120 on 2013 - 6,242). This is more than 17 every day

4,652 or 76% were male and suicide amongst young people is a significant and increasing problem. 

Suicide invariably results from a period of anxiety and depression and, despite the continuing increase in suicide rates worldwide, there is still very little research carried out to identify the causes and cures of mental illness. Investment in research into mental health problems is just 2.5% of the level invested in the causes and cures of Cancer, despite the fact that more people seek help for mental health issues.

We need to do more to increase awareness and understanding, to train people who are best placed to identify those at risk and encourage young people to seek the right help.

However we also need a National Health Service (NHS), which provides better, earlier treatment and urgently develops plans to achieve the new ambition set by Nick Clegg in February 2015 of 'zero suicides' for people having treatment in NHS settings. This would mean all 151 Health and Wellbeing Boards having suicide preventions plans, multi-disciplinary prevention groups and effective annual suicide audits. Currently just 50% have operational plans.

But perhaps most important of all is the need to invest in prevention. and the role of schools….as well as colleges, universities, employers and JobCentres. We need people to be given the opportunity to understand the link between health (including emotional and mental health) and performance… and having the ability and resilience to cope with the ups and downs of everday life. Let's start by giving our children the knowledge, undertanding amd skills to keep on the right hand, flourishing side of the health continuum…the confidence to ask for help when they need it…..in the knowledge that it will be available at the right time. 

Please help us to achieve this and do learn these signs and watch out for them in family and friends, so that they seek and receive help at the earliest opportunity.

The warning signs of depression:

Changes in mood

Changes in mood

Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism

Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism

Difficulty in making decisions

Difficulty in making decisions

Irregular Sleep

Irregular Sleep

Decreased Energy

Decreased Energy

Tearfulness

Tearfulness

Feelings of guilt and worthlessness

Feelings of guilt and worthlessness

Restlessness

Restlessness

Thoughts of death or suicide

Thoughts of death or suicide

Appetite and weight loss

Appetite and weight loss

Persistent sad, anxious or empty mood

Persistent sad, anxious or empty mood

Insomnia

Insomnia

Images used by kind permission of The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust