By the time you finish reading this,12 people around the world will have taken their own life

When I started to think about what I wanted to say with this article, I couldn’t quite formulate my thoughts clearly. For the last week I’ve been trying to understand why the tragic death of Caroline Flack has affected me so much. She’s three years younger than me? She was the kind of woman you thought had it all together? She didn’t deserve it? If she’d had been mentally stronger, would she still be here? If, if, if.

Signs on fence: Don't Give Up You are not alone You matter
Image: Dan Meyers on Unsplash

I knew that writing would help and it’s an article that, even though it will only get about two readers (!) is important to me. “Don’t write for anyone else, write for yourself.” Sage advice.

Perhaps the best place to start is by being open and honest about one reason why I probably have been affected. Which is also why I have been supporting mental health charities for 18 years and a reason why Undisturbed will be a vehicle for positive mind health, something I believe most of us struggle with on some level from time to time.

It was a typical Saturday night – a night out with friends, dancing, chatting, having a laugh, up until the wee small hours. I was 25 and living with my parents. I rolled in at 9am(ish) on a cold November morning and went straight to my bed on the ground floor of our house. I had barely pulled the quilt over myself when I heard the landline ringing in the living room next to my bedroom.

I knew it wasn’t good from the side of the conversation that I could sort of hear. I didn’t want to know. I wish my mum didn’t have to come into my room. I wish I could have gone to sleep, safe from the reality that was about to descend. The reality that my aunt, uncle and cousin were already living.

My aunt and uncle had been out on a night out too. They arrived home at midnight. They came home to find a note behind the front door. My uncle ran to the garage. But it was too late. I remember that Sunday morning like it was yesterday.

My cousin would be 39 now. He’d be celebrating his 40th this year on this planet. The same age as Caroline.

Our most complex organ

Our brains are so complex and it has this unbelievable ability to catapult us to somewhere in our past. A place we’d probably rather forget. But you don’t. You’re so vividly taken there. Every emotion surfaces, the heart pounding, sinking feeling in the very pit of your stomach.

Brain inside model human head
Image: Jesse Orrico on Unsplash

Our mind tries to make sense of it all. Dazed and confused. And I can’t help but think about how we help to stop something that seems to be an epidemic. Worse than the Corona Virus. But not treated with the same level of urgency or protection from prevention. In 2018 6,859 people died because they felt there was no other way to cope with life.

Since the Corona Virus hit, a team somewhere have pulled together an advert for the radio advising us of how to prevent the Corona Virus from spreading with clear and present instructions on what to do. There have been no deaths from the Corona Virus in the UK. Globally 500 people have died from the effects of the virus. Which is awful. According to WHO (World Health Organisation), 1 person every 40 seconds will have taken their own life.

So where are the radio adverts with clear and present instructions on how to prevent or treat depression? Where is the sense of urgency around a real and present threat? On how to prevent spiralling thoughts? On how to stop nasty, ill thought out comments on social media or, if your job/career puts you in the public eye, in the press, from penetrating your mind like a parasite?

The Rumour Mill – Has your private life ever been the subject of office gossip?

It’s Wednesday afternoon. The Wednesday after a big office night out. A group of you ended up out clubbing – an alcohol fuelled destress. There’s been so much going on at work lately that you all needed it. Someone in your office confides in you that they haven’t been feeling great lately. Stuff going on at home and work getting on top of them. You can see they’re using the night to escape what’s going on. So you make sure they enjoy themselves. You get them on the dance floor, stumble to the nearest kebab shop at 3am, where you both start chatting to another group of people. You end up back at a party. Before you know it, it’s 9am and your inebriated finger and half shot eye is ordering an Uber. You pour your colleague into the taxi and arrive at their home. The fresh air has helped them to sober up a bit but you wait until they’re safely inside before the taxi drives off again. As you drive off, you can see their partner at the window, they must have heard the taxi. You think nothing more of it.

Monday morning comes around all too soon. You and your colleague catch up for a coffee – they have something they need to get off their chest. They had an argument with their partner. They weren’t happy at the 9am home time. Or the drunken stupor. Anger takes over on both sides. One walks up the stairs, the other runs after them and they’re both at the top of the stairs when the person at the top turns around and accidentally swipes their arm across their face. They lose their balance and end up falling back down the stairs injuring their ankle and bruising themselves. They end up at A&E. Your colleague is so upset they’re visibly shaken. Although things haven’t been great they don’t usually get so angry with each other. And they feel so bad about what happened.

Poster of man with Love Truth Again written
Image: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Little do either of you know that there’s someone standing in the queue who has overheard snippets of your conversation. That someone is the office gossip. The person who doesn’t have any hobbies or interests of their own, who takes great pleasure in talking about others and spreading half truths or often lies. This person has no scruples, no morals, no ethics, no compassion. They take great pleasure in bringing others down.