Tuesday 13 May 2014

 This is a guest blog from Dr Alys Cole-King, who is a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist and Co-Founder of Connecting with People.  She is the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ spokesperson on suicide and self-harm and also sits on their Patient Safety Working Group.  Alys works with Royal Colleges, voluntary bodies, academics, patient leaders, carers and sits on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Suicide and Self-harm Prevention.  She promotes compassion, patient safety and a public health approach to suicide prevention, wellbeing and resilience.

Why we all need to support the #TellMe Pledge’ 

"Stigma kills….Suicidal thoughts are far more common than people realise but we don’t talk about them.  Stigma means that it can be embarrassing or frightening to tell another person and this is absolutely critical to getting help.  As a psychiatrist, I have seen hundreds of people with suicidal thoughts and many people who tried to end their life and then changed their minds.  In far too many cases that person had suffered in silence and was too scared to tell anyone how they felt. 

The stigma surrounding suicide means that most people do not know how to approach someone who they think might be suicidal.  People who are considering self harm or suicide do not know where or how to get help.   At Connecting with People we, and our partners, are dedicated to tackling these issues.

I am therefore delighted, on behalf of Connecting with People, to support Grassroots and their partners Suicide Safer Brighton & Hove in their #TellMe pledge initiative.  In my view this is absolutely critical to saving lives.  

You can take the pledge here: http://bit.ly/TMPledge 

Suicidal thoughts usually start because people feel overwhelmed by their problems or their situation.  This can happen to absolutely anyone.  People find it hard to ‘see a way out’.  It is not that they necessarily want their life to end: it is just that they cannot cope with their emotional or physical pain any more.

Suicide prevention is like a massive jigsaw puzzle – it looks really complicated until we get close and see its just made up of small pieces – all we have to do is look after our piece of the puzzle – know how we can stay safe and where to get help if we are worried about someone. The first step is to recognise that life is not going well and to know that support is available if you just know what to do and where to go.

Please sign up to the Grassroots pledge – help save a life…it could be yours or someone you love."

For more information about Connecting with People and their training, campaigns and resources please see  http://connectingwithpeople.org/

Please also connect with them on Twitter @AlysColeKing @openmindscwp @OpenMindsLtd


Other blogs about stigma by Alys:

The Day I Found Out Stigma Can Kill: http://bit.ly/1iI3SLV
Tackling Stigma Saves Lives: http://bit.ly/1bl4sOZ 

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