If you are feeling low, or trampled, unappreciated, or forgotten…and you are reading this, realize it is an illusion…the hope is real…you are valued…and what lies ahead…is brilliance.” – Tom Althouse
Just before Christmas 2006, Clare Milford Haven’s world was ripped apart. Her eldest son James, aged only 21 – who loved his family, loved his friends, loved his sport – killed himself.
She had no forewarning, no previous experience of mental illness. It just happened to her – and her family – and James’s friends.
James had elected to have a minor procedure that December. It was straightforward and successful but he came out of the operation in state of anxiety. Nevertheless he was intent on returning to university to get his exams done but, once there, he went to a walk-in centre and told them he felt suicidal. The centre sent him to A&E as a ‘Priority 4’ – a category given to sufferers of toothache. He went but stayed only for 30 minutes. If you are in a state of emotional distress, the Emergency Room is the worst place to go. Two days later James was dead.
“For me the tragedy was that he went looking for help. That he was the highest risk category – a young man of 21, trying to express how he felt – and they didn’t help him. They didn’t’ ring his GP. They didn’t ring me.”
The bald facts are something all mothers should know. “Men are 3 times as likely to kill themselves: they don’t know how to talk, to articulate their pain. They tend to act out rather than work through it.” – sources: http://blog.indiahicks.com/
Clare and her husband have set up a trust for James to create places that people like James can go to in a crisis. It will be called ‘James’s Place.’ – http://www.jwsmf.org/
This heartfelt story is not uncommon and infact is growing every year. Why do our men feel like they cannot express their grief, their fears and their pain? How can we help these young men to know there is a safe place to be vulnerable and to trust that follow-up and support is always available?
“Suicide is something that people should look at, rather than look away from”- Clare Milford
We can all do our part during this holiday season to watch out for those who seem down or detached from their environment. To reach out and check up on those that seem to slip under the radar and for those who tell you they are okay and yet, seem deeply sad and lost.
There are wonderful support systems in place around the world for Suicide prevention and yet, I still feel there is a deeper issue in society that leave men in particular, unable to believe they can trust in others and express their pain without feeling judged or feeling less of a man.
“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” – Tom Hiddleston