Just when David thought things couldn’t get any worse…….
HE’D BEEN feeling low for a while, he’d lost a close friend last year, and his relationship with his partner Will had ended a couple of years ago. They were together for seven years and David thought things had been going really well until Will talked about wanting different things. That’s when things really changed for the worse.
David had felt depressed ages ago, before he was ‘out’, and when he was bullied at college; but being with Will made him feel much better about himself. Now David had gone to work only to find out he was going to be made redundant. When his manager told him he felt shock go through his body, thoughts racing through his mind: “What am I going to do now? I’ll never get another job, was I just no good?”
David had run up debts after his relationship ended, he didn’t want to give up the flat they had lived in together, but it cost too much. He was scared he’d lose his home, become destitute. He had no friends to turn to, he’d drifted away, lost touch. “No point calling family,” he thought, “they never visit and they’ve never really liked me being gay.”
Just when he needed someone, there wasn’t a soul. Memories of feeling hurt and rejected came flooding back, making David feel worthless. “What’s the point?” he thought, “I’ve got no-one, and I have nothing, I can’t see any point in living, it’s always going to be a struggle and I’ll never be happy.” David had experienced depressed thoughts like this before, wishing he didn’t have to wake up or that he’d be killed in a freak accident.
David took himself to bed, it was a struggle to get up even to go to the toilet. He just wanted to shut the world out, it was all too much to cope with. He decided he couldn’t go on like this, and thought about taking lots of sleeping pills so he didn’t ever wake up again, so he didn’t have to face the pain of his life. If nothing changed by this time next month, he decided he’d take an overdose. When that day came, David took a handful of pills, with tears rolling down his face. He managed a small handful but stopped, unsure about whether he really did want to die.
He was so confused. In a split second, a part of him decided he needed help, so he grabbed a copy of Gscene magazine and rang the help numbers at the back – it was 2am, so he wasn’t expecting any services to be open. The next day he woke up to the phone ringing. It was MindOut, where he had left a message with his name and number. They sounded calm and friendly and said they were from an LGBT+ mental health service. David decided he did need help, so he rang them back and agreed to meet someone for a chat.
He found the MindOut worker welcoming and kind. It was good when they asked if he was or had been feeling suicidal – David found himself saying more than he had done in months. It was good to tell someone about wanting to end his life, they didn’t seem to judge him or tell him what to do. They said they would keep everything confidential unless he was at risk.
The worker talked about a support group for LGBT+ people called Out of the Blue. This was somewhere he could meet other people who were struggling like he was. He liked the melancholic picture on the flyer – someone sitting on a beach, looking out to sea.
David joined the group. Listening to other people talking about their feelings made him feel like he wasn’t the only one coping with feeling suicidal. The group gave him something to look forward to, he liked the other people very much, and wanted to be supportive of them. The more he talked, the more David started feeling better, regaining a sense of himself. Even though life was still really tough, he decided he didn’t want to end it any more. In fact, he found himself getting worried about getting older, and wanted to do things to take care of his health.
Out of the Blue peer support
MindOut is expanding its suicide prevention work, with an additional peer support group to run each week. This means MindOut will be running two Out of the Blue peer support groups each week, alongside its other peer support groups, counselling, peer mentoring, advocacy and online support services.
Phil Brooke, MindOut’s Suicide Prevention worker, said: “LGBT+ people are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts or take their own lives than heterosexual people. I’m so pleased MindOut is expanding our suicide prevention services, including more peer support group sessions, more face-to-face support and instant-chat online support. We also want to encourage conversations about suicide in our communities, and reach more LGBT+ people who don’t currently seek support.”
MindOut’s services are independent, non-judgemental and empowering.
For more info see www.mindout.org.uk, call 01273 234839 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
EMERGENCY SELF-HELP PLAN
If you’re feeling suicidal, try this:
• Wait: try not to act in the heat of the moment, don’t do anything on impulse, decide not to do anything to harm yourself in this moment. When we’re very distressed, our brains shut down, which makes it very hard to know if we’re making good decisions. It feels like things will never change, but thoughts and feelings are always changing.
• Talk to someone: try talking to someone before you do anything – it could be a family member, friend, a health professional or someone from a helpline. There are people out there who care and want to hear what you have to say.
• Seek help: make a decision to look after yourself and get help. This could be friends or family, your GP, A&E, crisis services or help lines.
• Keep yourself safe in the here and now: make a safe plan, this means making an agreement yourself, and someone else if you can, that you will not attempt suicide whilst help and support are being arranged.
Where to find help if you’re considering suicide:
• If you (or someone else) have harmed yourself and/or you think your life is at risk, then call emergency services on 999.
• If you feel you’re not able to keep yourself safe, and that you feel you’re in crisis or you’re considering A&E and don’t need immediate medical assistance, you should contact: Brighton Mental Health Rapid Response Service (MHRRS) who can offer immediate support. Call 0300 304 0078 (24-hrs). Keep this info in a safe place in case you need it.
• Alternatively, go to A&E at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, where you can see a mental health nurse from the Mental Health Liaison Team (you may have to wait).
• Call NHS Direct (24-hrs) 111 for advice, information and support.
• Contact GP and tell them how you’re feeling.
• Samaritans (24-hrs): 01273 772277 or 116 123 (free to call), text 07725 909090, email email@example.com, or drop-in any day 10am-10pm at Dubarry House, Newtown Road (near Hove Park Villas), Hove, BN3 6AE,
• Sussex Mental Health Line (5pm-9am, 24-hrs weekends and bank holidays): 0300 5000 101.
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