Are you desensitised to Suicide?

This post has been bouncing around the back of my mind for a while now. It started with a post on a local Facebook group wondering why there had been no news following a suicide at a local train station. Some of the comments were angry – why would there need to be news? What is there to be said? The person making the post was sincere in the reply they didn’t need the gory details but felt that a death like that is shocking moment and there should be some memorial or acknowledgment to the person who has passed.

Not just some sterile note that services were briefly delayed that day.

This has been bugging me. At times, I am actually quite furious about this. If the person had been subject to bad Doctor, it would be a shocking newspaper story. If the person had been attacked in the park, the press would have sounded the rallying cry for better policing and in turn better funding.
So, where is the article and the shock that our mental health system is failing? Where is the rallying call where we bang on the doors of those MPs who feel their duck pond is more worthy than our brothers and sisters?

Do we really now live in a world where a Suicide on our railways is no longer a tragedy, but just a delay to the chaos commute? Is that the kind of world you want to live in?
In 2016/17, 237 people took their lives on the railway – the lowest number since 2010/11.

Small Talk Saves Lives - Click here for the Network Rail campaign

I’ve touched upon this before on my blog. I remember the revelation when I found out that suicide is and has been the biggest killer of men and teenage men for decades. Mental Health isn’t some new problem. This has been going on for decades. As a society, we took the fight on with TB, Cancer, and AIDS. Where is the anger and revolution to take that social fight to mental health?

In my own story, I’ve broached how if it was 2019 and not 1999, then safeguarding would have triggered a response by the School, NHS, Police, and Council. Perhaps this will save some of the youngsters from entering the desolate paths that lead to the adult mental health crisis – or at least give them a more stable route with better chances.

Is suicide so common that we don’t actually care anymore? The World Health Organization says that ”Suicide is a global phenomenon”. Globally, it is the second leading cause of death for 15 to 29-year-olds. Why have we just accepted this?

Things are changing. Change isn’t always quick. Statistics for 2017 showed that certain suicide rates were down – some even at the lowest recorded.

Suicide is preventable. A short conversation with someone who may be struggling to cope can go a long way, and might even help save a life.

My Mum's boyfriend took his own life in the few months after my Mum's death at a train station. As an adult, I searched his name. Maybe records from 2004 aren't interesting enough for the internet, but the only trace of his existence was as a mark on a chart. A chart showing suicides by train station by year in the UK. He wasn't even a person anymore. Just a statistic. I understand families may want privacy but perhaps local press could publish a celebration or memorial to that person so the wider public feels that the delay to the 08:29 was actually the end of life, not just a nuisance.

Talking is one of the biggest ways you can make a difference. Whether it is asking someone, twice, if they are OK or maybe reiterating this article, talking is a key way that you can help save these lives.
In 2015, I was at my all-time low. I had nothing left to lose so I gave life a chance. We need to help people before it reaches that stage because I’m very lucky I’ve managed to recover to where I am now.

Find out more about my story in the article I’ve written for Brides Magazine. I’ve also written an article on the Mind website.

We're Married!

When you get an Uber and you are alone, do you sit in the front or the back? That is my current level of social anxiety.  A few years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to get in the car let alone survive that awkward “are you busy today?” chat. 

It is amazing how far to think I have come in the past few years and the last few weeks since our wedding has been the perfect time to reflect. The months leading up to the big day can be so stressful but it is important to have friends and family around to support you. Please, reach out, you are not alone.

The vast majority of your friends and family will be flattered or over the moon that you want their help or input into your special occasion so don’t be shy to ask.  I’m so glad we asked for help and I owe those nearest and dearest so much. Maybe it's asking for help setting up the favors on the table or even a special reading. It is the little personal touches, that you and your closest family bring to the day that makes it important, unique and memorable. 

Does anyone else have a pork pie in their wedding photos?
Who else had a big red bus for the closest family to ride?
Who else had a flash mob after their first dance?
 Just us. 
It might be a little 'out there'. But that's us. We're special. Unashamed.

We had a 'Mind' theme photobooth!
Could you support a charity important to you on your big day?
Since mental health has been such a huge part of our lives, we wanted it to be part of our huge day. In fact, I've written a blog for Mind which will hopefully appear soon on their website.
While 2015 was the worst year of my life, it was the catalyst for so many good things. Getting support and diagnosis on the NHS helped me get the right path to recovery and trying to stay healthy. For me, having a diagnosis of EUPD meant I had something to learn about and focus on; it wasn't a horrific shadow or even unknown.

Mind helped me to find a voice and to take ownership of my story – rather than letting my story or my mental health own me.

With the help of Mind, I’ve told my story on BBC News and to The Guardian. They also introduced me to the Mind Media Awards where I have helped shortlist entries for 3 years.

During this time, I also became reacquainted with a friend from school, Caroline. We had drifted apart, as you naturally do after school. Caroline had a difficult time and suffered her own frightening mental health issues at university. However, those experiences helped us see past each other’s flaws and into our future. We weren’t damaged or scarred. We’d survived and were starting to thrive on the adventure of a lifetime. Within a few months, I knew I could never be without her and on New Years Eve, I asked her to marry me.

We were married on 6th April 2019 at our local church where we both grew up and we are thrilled to share some photos with you here. We used Mind wedding favors, name cards with pins, on our tables. On the back of our order of service, we asked people to make donations to Mind via the website. We also had leaflets, flags, and donations around our photo booth.  

I don't know if we raised much, but it felt nice to have a positive story linked to mental health.

If you had asked me in 2015, I couldn’t see a future. Yet the right help has helped me on a path to where we are now. Mental health doesn't have to be a bad news story. Good things, like happy endings, can happen too.

Find out more about my story through my blog or browse the different interviews I've done at
Thank you for taking the time for reading my blog. Please follow me on YouTube and Twitter.

Order of Service designed and produced by

Scented Candles and #SelfCare

Human nature seems to like maintaining the status quo however when that is the routine deaths of 100,000 people each year linked to issues with mental health care, I can’t help feeling something can and should change.

Whilst the male suicide rate was at its lowest in 2017 (since 1981 when the Office for National Statistics started) it is still the biggest killer of men from their teens to the time they should get their bus pass. In 2017, 5,821 people ended their own lives. 4,382 (75.3%) of those were male.

There are many ways to tackle this and different organisations are taking different multi-pronged approaches. In fact this week sees the Mind Media Awards which does a fantastic job of promoting sensible and careful conversation of mental health in the press or on films and TV. It also rewards those programmes, journalists and producers who undertake this difficult conversation and encourage people to talk and seek help. I was very proud to be on the shortlisting panel for the awards for a third year running and as ever found it a rewarding, enlightening and humbling experience. You can watch the event live via the Mind website.

One of the prongs to tackle this killer is the idea of self-care. In the ever hectic world where stress is the biggest cause of absence at work, helping people make healthier decisions can not just save the NHS millions or decrease your waist size but actually steer people away from the edge. The image of having a relaxing bath, or sitting still for 5 minutes of calm with candle or wax melt can at first feel quite… ladylike. But why should there be anything wrong with looking after your mind if it’s OK to look after your body? 

I asked on twitter: When was the last time you did nothing? Just focused on a raindrop, sat still, silently noticing the world around and what your senses' sense?

Every vote was either 'Rarely' or 'Never'.

One of the ways I practise self-care is to sit still and practise some simplified mindfulness with a wax melt or a candle to focus on. How does it smell? Can you see the flicker of the flame or the wisps of fragrance raise from the pool? Taking 5 minutes to notice these things allows your body and mind to reset from the chaos that is your pinging emails, buzzing text messages and banging of children or telephones. 

Below is a video review for Pick N Melt who reached out to me and given the nature of my blog and social media wanted my view on their products. The Mrs-to-be and I adore a Yankee Candle so went in with high hopes. It would be nice to spend some money on craft-made UK candles and wax melts? 

I have been blown away by the beautiful scents available and how well the fragrance remains. I've used big brand wax melts before and ended up with 'scent-less' wax lining my bin after a few hours but the 'Seville Orange' has been going for almost 35 hours now and it still smells like we've zested our own fruits right there. It's not overpowering but it is strong and lasts really well. I'm really impressed with the value of money their monthly subscription pack provides - a perfect gift for Christmas or for you to share with your friends and promote a bit of #selfcare.  #BeTheMateYoudWant.

Thanks for reading! Please share, subscribe and comment. Why not have a look at some past popular posts I've linked below!?