World Suicide Prevention Day
10 September 2021
Here at BWB we believe it is our responsibility to form a meaningful dialogue regarding mental wellbeing, working towards creating an inclusive work environment where staff can speak openly, and access support where necessary.
As such, it is only fitting that we mark World Suicide Day. Our Associate at Deetu Josh Dickerson has shared with us his experience with suicide and trying to break the mental health stigma,read Josh’s story below.
Over the past few months I have shared my story of dealing with the grief since my mum took her own life. The writing has never been easy, but I have always felt, and hoped, that sharing my experiences openly might help others going through something similar.
But on this day, I find myself a little lost for the right thing to say.
The 10th of September has always been a special day for our family. It was, and very much still is, my mum's birthday. But over the past couple of years, it has taken on another meaning for me, as it also officially marks World Suicide Prevention Day.
So today I find it an overwhelmingly difficult time to put anything into words about mental health that might positively impact someone reading this, when this day is such a challenge for me.
So why am I bothering to write anything at all? Well, for the first 24 years of my life, mental illness didn’t really enter my mind. I never thought about my mental health as I didn’t think it would impact me or my family.
But when I did start to hear about it, it was only ever talked about negatively. At schools and workplaces there has traditionally been a reactionary attitude to dealing with mental health. We have for too long only spoken about the mental wellbeing of ourselves or others when it becomes an issue and by then it is often too late.
When it comes to our physical health, we drive highly positive connotations. Just think of all the advertising, and promotional material you see on a daily basis encouraging you to take better care of your physical health. How often do you take action after a conversation about getting fit with a friend or colleague?
Meanwhile we are used to phrases like “man up”, “grow a pair”, “life’s not fair”, and “what doesn’t kill you…” when discussing mental health. But rather than helping us deal with issues, these types of remarks shut down conversations, create a feeling of shame and leave people suffering in silence.
Shouldn’t we also strive to normalise the positives of discussing our mental health within our day to day lives?
Although today it may just have been easier for me not to say anything at all, and it may even be difficult for you to read this, just by us having this brief conversation we have started to break the silence together.
Now over to you. What can you do to break the silence of mental health?
In just three weeks I will be running two marathons in two weeks supporting Mind, the mental health charity, helping others so that they do not have to go through the same as our family.
If you want to read more about my story and to find out what I’ll be up to then please go to: www.mindmiles.co.uk.