Today is suicide awareness day, and personally I feel it isn’t higlighted enough. Still in 2012 we are to afraid to talk about those suffering with depression or mental health illnesses. They shouldn’t be such a taboo in this modern world.
Not many people know this about me but I suffered with OCD and depression aged 15, and although I never contemplated suicide I won’t deny the thought ever crossed my mind. I was afraid and ashamed but without the incredible support from my parents, counsellor and school mentor I’m not sure how I’d have coped.
It’s easy to put on a front; fake a smile and pretend everything is ok. Keeping everything locked up only makes it worse. My mother noticed my change in behaviour, started off as a slight case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I had to make sure our family was safe. Doors were locked, nobody was in any other rooms etc and eventually I opened up. I realised talking helps, getting it all out in the open was a breath of fresh air and now seven years on I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, but I am one of the lucky ones.
There are a staggering 1 in 10 (March 2011) of us suffering with depression, whether work related, family or relationships and with children 1 in 33 and of those a massive 70% will go untreated. Parents tend to shrug off the idea their child has depression ‘too young’ is often the reason. But don’t be so shallow. The stats are there. Bullying is believed to be at core of child depression and suicide, tragic to think a child so young could have such thoughts. It’s not just playground banter, some of these bullies deserve prison sentences for the horrific threats and verbal abuse thrown at these fragile minds.
So please, coming from somebody who has suffered, take time out for those who aren’t their usual selves lately; a partner, a child or a sibling. Low self-esteem, Lack of appetite and disinterest in day-to-day activities are key symptoms of depression. Offer a chat, don’t be afraid. Mentally Ill don’t want your pity, just to understand.