Posted on Fri 09 Sep 2016 at 11:28 by Callum Aldcroft
If you are thinking of taking your own life, it may feel like there is no other way out, but there is always someone who will listen and can support you. It may be that you haven’t felt able to reach out for support, or you may have tried and it hasn’t worked. Different things work for different people, don’t give up. It may feel that right now you are alone in how you feel – but please read this – as you are not alone.
NUS research estimates that 33% of students have experienced suicidal thoughts, and as isolating as it can feel, please believe me when I say you are absolutely not on your own. It doesn’t make you ‘bad’ or ‘crazy’ or anything else that you may think. Your feelings are valid and you deserve help. It can be scary reaching out for that first time and sometimes the first time we ask for help, things don’t work out or they don’t go to plan - but that doesn’t mean that they won’t the second, or even the third time. There is a huge range of support for you (please see the end of the blog). If you aren’t sure where to start or just want to test the water, LUU Advice are a safe and confidential service. You can have a chat and they can help you find what support you feel is right. They can also help if how you feel has had an impact on your studies or finances. It’s completely independent from the university, so you don’t have to worry about tutors on your course finding out if you don’t want them to. The University has a range of counselling and mental health support, both services are confidential and can offer you the space and support you need.
The 10th of September marks suicide awareness day. A day designed to help break down the barriers to a highly emotive subject, and one that is too often ignored. It can be easy to think that it’s not a student issue, but that perception is simply untrue. Student suicides are currently estimated to be at their highest number since 2007, and in 2013 suicide was the leading cause of death in 20-34 year olds and the second leading cause of death in 15-19 year olds which is a terrifying statistic. What is even more terrifying is the fact that we refuse to talk about it at all costs. To quote a line from the Harry Potter series, “fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself”. Not talking about suicide won’t make it less real, and it won’t make it go away – if anything, avoiding the subject makes it far more difficult to reach out and prevent it. It is totally misunderstood and some of these misunderstanding are what stand in the way of being able to talk about suicide. First and foremost, suicide is not attention seeking and if someone is talking about wanting to take their own lives this should not be dismissed – nor should anyone be scared to reach out and talk to them about it. Talking about suicide does not make it any more likely it will happen, but it can make someone feel that someone cares and they are not alone.
It is also important to know that you don’t have to have been suicidal yourself to have been affected by suicide. If you are worried about someone please don’t feel you have to deal with it all yourself. The support services mentioned below can help you, both to talk through how you feel and what you can do to reach out to those you are concerned about.
Those bereaved through suicide are too often left out of the conversations that are had. The loss of a loved one can be one of the hardest things any person will ever go though, and losing someone through suicide can stir up a unique set of emotions, the question ‘could I have done more?’ can lurk in your thoughts for years. If you have lost someone then you need to know that you are important too and you have the right to talk to someone and find support as well - you too are not alone. If you are worried about a friend reach out for support – it is far too easy to end up taking on too much responsibility and sacrificing your own wellbeing for someone else.
Reaching out for help doesn’t make you weak and we at LUU will not judge you for anything you tell us. No matter what you’re gone through or are going through, we care and are here to help you.
Who is there for you?
University of Leeds Counselling Service – www.leeds.ac.uk/studentcouselling
(0113) 343 4107
University of Leeds Mental Health Service
email@example.com or 0113 343 7458
LUU Student Advice - firstname.lastname@example.org
(0113) 3801 290
Your own GP – If you are registered at Leeds Student Medical Practice you can make an appointment by ringing 0113 295 4488
If you are in crisis or need urgent mental health support the following services are available:
- Dial 999 if you or someone you know is in urgent need of medical attention
- Dial house Dial House is a place of sanctuary open 6pm–2am Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Visitors can access Dial House when they are in crisis and relax in a homely environment with an hour of one to one support from the team of Crisis Support Workers.
- The Samaritans Open 24 hours a day, and provide emotional support in times of crisis. Number: 116 123