Suicide Prevention Week: A reflection

“Who cares if one more light goes out?

In a sky of a million stars

It flickers, flickers

Who cares when someone’s time runs out?

If a moment is all we are

We’re quicker, quicker

Who cares if one more light goes out?

Well I do”

One More Light, Linkin Park

This week marks suicide prevention week in the US, and September 10th will mark suicide prevention day in the UK. Suicide prevention is a topic close to my heart.

My name is David, and i’m a suicide attempt survivor.

According to the World Health Organisation, there are close to 800,000 deaths from suicide every year, equating to one death roughly every 40 seconds. Read that again; every 40 seconds, another life is lost to suicide.

That’s 800,000 people EVERY YEAR that are suffering so immensely that they can no longer continue living. I know this feeling, I have lived this feeling. My skin carries the scars from the numerous attempts I have made on my life, my liver carries permanent damage from the drugs and alcohol I ingested to cut my suffering short.

Men in particular are very vulnerable to suicide. My opinion is that as men, we are subject to toxic expectations; “boys don’t cry”, “man up”. As men we are expected to hide our pain, being emotionless walls of muscle.

Marginalised groups such as autistics face suicide prevelance 9x that of the general population. Estimates suggest that over half of trans teens have self-harmed or attempted suicide.

If we want to prevent suicide, we must dismantle the toxic expectations and standards of the world. We must combat toxic positivity. We must be brave enough to stand up and speak our truth, in the face of those who would rather ignore our plight.

We need to create a more compassionate world. One where people are not accused of attention seeking for reaching out and struggling. One where we extend to our fellow human the same love and acceptance that we extend to our friends and loved ones.

There can be no rest while innocent people give up there lives in search of an escape from suffering. We must be the change we want to see within the world.

This September, gift someone compassion, and make the world a brighter place to be.

If you are struggling to keep going at the moment, I beg of you, reach out. Do not make a permanent decision off of feelings that I promise are temporary. Life is worth holding on to, by your very existence you have changed the world. This is a world that is better with you in it. I would rather talk to you about your suffering (and do my best to help where I can) than attend your funeral.

Who cares if one more light goes out? I do.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic mental health and addiction advocate living in the South East of England. He is in recovery from addiction and psychosis, as well as other complex mental health conditions. He was diagnosed as autistic seven months after achieving sobriety, and is resolved to share his experiences with the world in the hopes of being the person that he needed when he was younger.

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