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I lost a friend to suicide, this World Suicide Prevention Day talk to your loved ones

Reporter Luke May lost a friend to suicide earlier this year. In this first-person article he discusses the misconceptions around the topic and explains why talking is key.

Everyone has an opinion on suicide.

People are still ready to call it the coward’s way out, with little understanding of what that person may have gone through.

One in four people with go through a mental health problem each year
One in four people with go through a mental health problem each year

Earlier this year my friend took his life.

Dave, definitely not his real name, was a regular fixture at our house over the summer of 2018.

There was rarely a cloud in the sky and England were half decent in the World Cup.

We'd be out drinking in the garden or at the pub. Dave made things all the better just by being there with the rest of us.

In the spring I took a phone call at work. Dave had killed himself.

.

We knew he had been down. A few of us had struggled with mental illness ourselves and were ready to talk to him about his own struggle the next weekend.

Before that talk could happen, he made a decision that is still difficult for me to understand.

However, he was not a coward.

He had tried to talk about it to friends closer than me. And they’d tried to help.

But the next step of getting help was too much.

"People who take their life don't necessarily want to die..."

Talking to someone about suicide might seem awkward, you might worry you're putting the idea into someone's head.

In reality, the opposite is true, if you ask someone if they're considering suicide it gives them a chance to talk about it.

It might seem strange to hear, but people who take their life don't necessarily want to die.

They just want whatever darkness or pain they're going through to stop.

As friends and family we can all offer a loved one some relief from that pain, but ultimately they need to know that there is professional help out there too.

This World Suicide Prevention Day don't forget to talk to any friend or relative you think might be struggling.

But don't stop there, learn about mental illness and share the fantastic services that are out there ready to help anyone.

One in four British people will experience a mental health problem each year. If you think you and friends are all getting along fine then that's great, but it doesn't hurt to check.

It's better to ask you friends questions now while they're here, then let them go unanswered if the worst were to happen.

If you're struggling, please call Samaritans on 116 123. Discover some of the help available here.

KentOnline is publishing a series of articles for World Suicide Prevention Day:

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