Life post-overdose had a different intensity to it - I couldn't run from my struggle anymore. I couldn't keep stuff shoved down and carry on regardless. I couldn't neglect my needs because saving myself after overdosing (I called the ambulance) was cementing a promise to myself - I was going to do this.
My hope is that the Select Committee will look in detail at the combination of factors which have contributed to the success of this Crisis Centre. There is a very great need for similar Centres in other counties and we are starting to work to make this happen. If we had a Suicide Crisis Centre in every county, it could play a major role in reducing the number of people who die by suicide.
"He/she is difficult to engage." It's a term that I have often heard used by psychiatric staff when talking about patients. I was described as "difficult to engage" when I was under mental health services and now that I run a Suicide Crisis Centre, I frequently hear the same phrase used by psychiatric staff who signpost to us.
Suicide is a difficult topic to talk about because there are so many feelings that go alongside it. For some it can be immoral, too upsetting, something "selfish" people do, too sensitive, too dark, maybe even something that people avoid talking about because it is too difficult to understand why someone would commit such an act...
Whilst the number of children and young people taking their own lives is quite low, particularly in younger children, the impact on family, friends and the communities they live in is immense. The loss of a child or young person, whatever the circumstance is a dreadful event, but the loss of a young person through suicide eats at the heart of families and they are the very fabric of our communities.
I've seen the impact that depression and anxiety can have on people's ability to perform and reach their potential. I've worked with managers and leaders who have either wanted to better support their own people facing mental ill-health, but not known how, to those who through a degree of ignorance, had taken the approach that people should just 'deal with it'.
So why am I passionate about contributing to mental health awareness? It would not be my first choice to talk so openly about my story if I am honest with you, but I feel since I lost my dad to suicide three years ago, I have learnt so much about the crippling disease that is depression that I have to pass on what I have learnt....