6 min read


**Trigger Warning for some people**

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and for me this is such an important topic that I feel like should be focusing on more. 

Thankfully I have never been directly affected by suicide but through the work I do, I've come across people who have been or attempted and it is so sad that we live in a world where their only option is suicide.

Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male. It’s a shocking statistic, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Few people go through life, at some point, having a suicidal thought or feeling.

Whilst suicidal feelings are more common than we like to admit, it doesn’t mean that it’s the answer for you. 

There are always other options.

A couple of weeks ago I asked Emma Rayner who is the Events and Fundraising Manager for The Lucy Rayner Foundation but is also the sister to Lucy who sadly took her own life a series of questions.

Here are her responses.

Emma Rayner

Personal questions.

1. Who have you lost due to suicide? 

Sadly I lost my little sister Lucy age 22 to suicide - A very unexpected loss in our family.

2. How did that affect you?

I think the initial shock was so intense, with so many emotions that your brain just can not even comprehend. I couldn’t actually tell you what happened in the first week of losing Lucy, I just remember so much pain, tears and darkness. I remember flowers, hampers and cooked dinner were being left on the door step. Personally I also had a lot of guilt and being the protective sister I was – I wish I did more and of course that famous question that continuously stick with you is ‘why?’. Eight years later, it still affects me, I guess you just learn to cope but I suffer with anxiety and the fear that I will lose one of my children or someone else.

3. When did this happen? 

May 5th 2012

4. Why do you think she done it? 

I think Lucy (like a lot of other people) didn’t recognise her symptoms or didn’t know how to tell someone how they were feeling. At a young age she would continuously change moods quickly and we all just thought that was her, her personality. I wasn’t educated at all, I will hold my hands up and I wish I was but at that time I had no idea about the different types of mental health illnesses, the signs and symptoms to look out for or where to go for help!

5. What have you done since? 

I think we have done so much. We created a documentary which has won 9 film awards (telling Lucy’s Story). We also set up a wonderful charity in Lucy’s name called The Lucy Rayner Foundation. We offer a 360 degree service, offering free counselling sessions, support groups, a suicide bereavement service and collaborating with other local charities and the local governments. Our aim is to educate and ensure that no young person with a mental health condition has to suffer silently or alone. The charity was officially launched and set up on May 2013.

Generalised questions.

1. What should you do if someone tells you they are thinking about suicide? 

If someone is indicating they are feeling suicidal we ask that you have a honest, non-judgmental conversation with them – It will not make the situation any worse, if anything they may feel relief in telling someone. If you think they are in danger of themselves, then call 999 or take them to the hospital. Never ignore the warning signs: These can be talking about suicide and dying, no hope for the future, feelings of worthlessness, self-hatred, guilt, shame. There are few others but I would advise anyone reading this to educate themselves or join our Mental Health First Aid Training sessions we run.
2. Why do people attempt suicide? 

There are so many different factors as to why people would take their own lives.

3. Apart from talking to a suicidal person and encouraging him or her to go for counselling, what else can we do to prevent this? 

If they are suicidal then they need to seek professional help. Counselling, therapy, are great for recovery. You could also be a friend, a listening ear for someone who is struggling and encourage them to do some self help things like join a gym, do some meditation, yoga, learn to play an instrument, join a dance class, get running, great self care is good, at the end of the day it's all about loving yourself.

4. Why don't people talk about mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder and suicide? 

Stigma plays a massive part as to why it’s not spoken about enough, I do think society is starting to talk more mental illness but there is still a long way to go. I think together we can make a change. I also think like Lucy, a lot of people fall in the category of lack of understanding, coping with day to day life and not understanding why they feel a type of way. We all need to get educated on the signs and symptoms of mental ill health so that we can recognise it in our selves in our friends and family and then offer support that is needed.

5. Is there anything else that you would like to advise others who are suffering right now? 

Please don’t suffer alone or in silence, speak to someone that you trust, seek professional help. Not every day will be a bad day, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Recovery is ‘hope’. Find coping tool's to help you through the crisis. There are so many great apps (free) around that offer amazing, advise and support and like our charity we are always here to listen. 

I would like to personally thank Emma for taking the time in sharing her thoughts and advice on this topic, the work you and your family do are amazing and so proud to work closely with you all.

While suicide is one of those taboo topics to talk about, it is very real and very deadly. 

Here is some information that I have put together from a more generalised approach to suicide. 

What makes people suicidal?  

There’s never one reason, but usually a combination of things:

  • A major loss, trauma or setback in your life can make you feel life isn’t worth living, for example if you’ve lost a person or a relationship that meant everything to you, or you lose your job or encounter financial difficulties, all of which are problems that can be tackled and resolved.
  • When someone close to you has attempted or died by suicide.
  • You have been using drugs or drinking heavily.
  • You have experienced bullying or rejection, especially if it goes on for a long time, which can leave you feeling low and worthless.
  • You may be upset and angry for no reason at all, which can be very frightening. People become depressed not just because sad, traumatic or stressful things happen to them. The chemicals in the brain which control our mood can get messed up, become unbalanced and we can feel depressed.
  • A combination of any of these things.

Feeling suicidal is actually fairly common. It’s normal for people to get into situations that make them panic, and they briefly think about wanting to take their own life. It’s a passing feeling and normal, so long as those feelings don’t last for extensive lengths of time or become too intrusive or over whelming. 

When they start taking control of what you’re thinking, then it can be dangerous and you should talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Don’t let your mind run wild. Talk it through. It’s hard to generalise, but many people who think about taking their own lives:

  • Are very sensitive to failure or criticism.
  • Feel like they have no friends and are isolated.
  • Set themselves targets which are difficult to achieve.
  • Find it hard to cope with disappointment.
  • Find it difficult to admit to having problems they don’t know how to solve.
  • Find it hard to tell others how they are feeling.

Men and boys are often more vulnerable to taking their own lives because:

  • They feel a pressure to be a winner and can more easily feel like the opposite.
  • They feel a pressure to look strong and feel ashamed of showing any signs of weakness.
  • They feel a pressure to appear in control of themselves and their lives at all times.

Most suicidal people don’t actually want to die, they just want to remove themselves from an unbearable situation, and for the pain to stop. It’s a decision made when other decisions seem impossible. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, the whole of life can feel hopeless. Often in this situation, you can feel that other people will be better off without you, but this is never the case. 

Suicide has a devastating effect on the people left behind, both family, friends and whole communities.

While suicide can seem like the only way to deal with the pain, there’s ALWAYS another option – it’s just finding that option that can sometimes be tricky. Don’t try and find it on your own. Two heads are better than one. Talk it over with someone. Tell them what you’re thinking and why. If you’re feeling worthless, hopeless about the future or believe that no one cares about you – or even that the world would be a better place without you.

The most important thing that you can do if you are struggling is to reach out to someone you trust or a professional

What if someone I know feels suicidal?

It can be very distressing if you are worried about someone who feels suicidal. They may have talked about wanting to end their life, or you may be concerned that they are thinking about it.

You might feel unsure of what to do, but there are lots of things that might help. You could do:

  • encourage them to talk about their feelings
  • encourage them to seek treatment and support
  • offer emotional support
  • offer practical support
  • help them think of ideas for self-help
  • help them to make a support plan

How can I help them talk about suicidal feelings?

If someone feels suicidal, talking to someone who can listen and be supportive may be their first step towards getting help. They could talk to someone in their life. They could also talk to a professional such as a doctor or therapist, or a trained listener at a helpline.

If you feel able to listen, you could ask them about how they are feeling. It could help if you:

  • Ask open questions. These are questions that invite someone to say more than 'yes' or 'no', such as 'How have you been feeling?' or 'What happened next?'
  • Give them time. You might feel anxious to hear their answers, but it helps if you let them take the time they need.
  • Take them seriously. People who talk about suicide do sometimes act on their feelings — it's a common myth that they don't. It's best to assume that they are telling the truth about feeling suicidal.
  • Try not to judge. You might feel shocked, upset or frightened, but it's important not to blame the person for how they are feeling. They may have taken a big step by telling you.
  • Don't skirt around the topic. There is still a taboo around talking about suicide which can make it even harder for people experiencing these feelings to open up and feel understood. Direct questions about suicide like 'Are you having suicidal thoughts?' or 'Have you felt like you want to end your life?' can help someone talk about how they are feeling.

10 Mile Monthly Walk

Every month I do a 10 mile monthly walk to help not only my own Mental Health but I also do it to raise both money and awareness with the stigma that surrounds it. Today I have completed my walk and for this one I have dedicated it to my grandfather who sadly I never met.

Here is the completed screenshot of my walk..

The foundation I am fundraising for is the Sam West Foundation, he was a young teenager who sadly took his own life and since then his brother Ben West has been working very hard to campaign for Mental Health. 

If you would like to donate even £1 then click here, we would be extremely grateful. 

I am currently on £30 but would like to get more if I can.

I only have 3 more walks to do in order to reach my 120 mile goal.

For those reading this right now, I just want to say that YOU'RE NOT ALONE!

Also, remember to ask twice when speaking to someone:

Me: How are you?

Them: I'm fine..

Me: How are you really?

Them: Well actually....

Something so simple can have a massive impact.



As part of my Mental Health work, I am going to be doing monthly newsletters on my website so I would be grateful if you would subscribe via my homepage (It ask's for your mobile number but you don't need to enter that in)

Here is this month's blog, click here if you would like to check it out.

Next month is World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10th October 

Thank you for reading

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