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A new group has been formed on World Suicide Prevention Day (Tuesday, 10th September) to open up a safe space for men in the Scottish Borders to talk with peers about anything that is worrying them including suicidal thoughts.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, suicide is the most common cause of death in the UK for men under the age of 50. The number of deaths by suicide rose by 11.8% in the UK in 2018 with 75% of all suicides occurring in men (Office for National Statistics 2019).
While all the underlying reasons for this aren’t yet fully understood, it has been suggested that some of the risk factors may include*:
The new group has been formed by men who after struggling found support in talking and in mindfulness. Everyone in the group felt it was very important to get a message out that “it’s okay to talk”, because that’s what they had found most beneficial. Group members said:
“I felt a certain stigma that was attached to me being a man that I couldn't do what was needed by myself. The more issues I had to deal with the more I became detached from humanity. The more I became detached from humanity the closer I got to loneliness, despair and overwhelmed with negative, damaging emotions. Knowing it was okay to talk was half the battle. Noticing the moments of anguish are key to recovery.”
“I was lucky. I had someone who knew me, who encouraged me to talk and seek help. He helped me get over the irrational stigma of feeling that low, that I couldn't show a weakness of character a chink in my armour. I would encourage all men who find themselves feeling this way to talk. It's hugely important to offer that helping hand to guide someone back to health. To be able to once again see life and love, outside the blinkers of isolation suicidal thoughts give us. And I've found a way, through Mindfulness, of managing the random and intrusive thoughts that still haunted me before then.”
Group members identified that speaking together removed the sense that each was alone in the world with their dark thoughts and emotions. The new group is open to all men who may find themselves in this position, where they will find others who have experienced something similar.
The group is not a therapy group and participants would always be encouraged to seek professional support. While all of the participants in the group to date met through Peer 2 Peer Mindfulness, the group is not a mindfulness provider. Anyone wanting more information about the men’s peer discussion group can contact Brian Turnbull on 07462 891 549.
Anyone in immediate distress can contact the Samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123 for free.