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As We Wonder Why L'Wren Scott Killed Herself, Experts Reveal Suicide To Be Far More Complex

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In the aftermath of L'Wren Scott's suicide, there have been endless column inches dedicated to exploring the reasons why she felt compelled to take her own life.

The most popular reason is that she couldn't cope with her debt and subsequent loss of her business, with some saying she was too proud to ask her millionaire boyfriend Mick Jagger for help.

Whatever the reasons - and in lieu of a suicide note, we may never fully understand why - L'Wren's death has shown that when it comes to feeling overwhelmed, worried about work and perceived personal failure, it doesn't matter how famous you are, or how glitzy your connections.

Despair can affect all echelons of society.

lwren scott

We contacted three separate organisations - the mental health charity Mind, the Stress Management Society that specialises in workplace stress and Samaritans, who have been helping people facing difficulties for over 60 years.

We wanted to find out what advice they had for people feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed, as well as providing insight into how the matter of suicide is dealt with and treated.

Beth Murphy, head of information at Mind said: “One in four people experience a mental health problem every year, but sadly because of the stigma attached to it many won’t feel able to speak out about what they are going through. Shockingly over 6,000 take their own life per year in the UK because they may feel like they have nowhere to turn."

A lot of the theories after L'Wren's death have been whether there were any signs leading up to her taking her own life, and sometimes, it can be hard to tell if someone is contemplating it.

Neil Shah, founder of the Stress Management Society, sadly has personal experience of this.

"I have played 5-a-side football for several years and play with a lovely bunch of guys. One of the guys is the same age as me - 38, he was married, with a young child, had a great job working in an investment bank in the city and seemingly had everything going for him.

"One day in November I received a text from one of the other guys to let me know that this friend, while commuting to work has thrown himself on the tracks and sadly taken his own life. What drives someone to take such a course of action? How as a society are we failing our most vulnerable members?"

For many, there is still one reliable safe port in the storm that has been providing support and a safe place to talk, and that's the Samaritans.

HuffPost UK Lifestyle spoke to volunteer Sal Lalji, who said what started as one man and a phone has turned into a big organisation with branches around the country. She estimates that they answer around five million calls a year across emails, phone, text and face-to-face meetings.

They are also much more than a helpline - they go into prisons, schools, A&E wards and other places where people might just need to talk. Walking around the City of London, filled with people who work high-pressured jobs, you'll notice posters up in the tube stations.

Samaritans don't just deal with people who are suicidal, although they estimate around 22% of their calls are from people who feel like that.

A lot of it is work to help the person before they get to that stage. "Ultimately," says Sal, "if people don’t address the way they are feeling or get support things can spiral. We need to make sure we are talking to people at every level, and while we would encourage people to call earlier on, we don’t want them to get to the point where they are feeling suicidal."

Over the last 60 years, the Samaritans have noticed that people are still worried about the same things - "financial worries, sexuality, family problems, loneliness isolation" - but on the plus side, society’s acceptance over these things has changed. For instance, although being gay may have its difficulties, attitudes and legislation have altered.

"In regards to financial worries, we did snapshot surveys back in 2008 we found one in 10 of our calls was linked to financial stress. In 2013, it was one in six and we know that financial difficulties or the recession or both, have an effect on people’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

"Even the threat of losing one’s job can be bad for emotional health. But the thing about suicide is so complex. With L'Wren Scott, everyone speculated her business was going under but it may have been other things. What we know is that it is there will have been several things that will have taken place that lead to that person feeling there is no other option. When someone loses their job, it’s not just for that reason. It’s the mounting bills, the stigma, the embarrassment, the feeling of failure that then pushes the person to taking their own life."

What Sal advises is to remember that a person who is suicidal will "genuinely feel they have no other option, that their family and friends are better off without them."

So what can be done to help?

"At Samaritans we encourage a person to talk about how they are feeling, to try and help them to see a different perspective. We don’t tell people what to do, call ambulances or make choices for them or take over their life. We are their to help the individuals.

"It’s important we don’t shy away from a taboo subject like this. We talk about suicide because there are few places where people can openly talk about it - and so here, it’s ok to talk about it. We won’t do the stiff upper lip, we empathise and stand shoulder to shoulder and have a constructive conversation with them."

For more information about this issue, or if you need help about anything and are feeling overwhelmed, call 08457 90 90 90 or jo@samaritans.org. Visit the website here.

If you are finding it hard to cope or know someone who is then Mind would urge you to speak about it with a friend, family member or GP before things escalate. You can also find lots of information about mental health problems on the website or you can call our confidential Infoline 0300 123 3393 for advice and support.”

For the Stress Management Society, click here.

SAMARITANS: SIGNS SOMEONE MAY NEED YOUR HELP

Sometimes people do want to talk about their problems, and often put out signals which might help you recognise they are struggling to cope:

  • making leading statements - people sometimes say these things in the hope you will pick up on them and ask what they mean, so that they can talk about it
  • a change in routine, such as sleeping or eating more or less than normal
  • drinking, smoking or using drugs more than usual
  • becoming withdrawn or losing touch with friends and family
  • losing interest in their appearance, such as no longer washing or dressing badly

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