World Suicide Prevention Day: Survivors Stories Prove Mental Health Issues Can Affect Anyone

'Seek help as early as possible.'

A total of 6,122 people took their own lives in 2014, but with the right support, suicide can be avoided.

To highlight the importance of open conversations around mental health, six survivors agreed to share their stories with The Huffington Post UK in time for World Suicide Prevention Day.

Kenny Johnston, CEO of CLASP Charity, went into his shed at home in 2010 with the intention of taking his own life.

“Having attempted twice in the spell of 20 minutes, [I] recovered consciousness,” the 46-year-old explained.

“A short time afterwards, I left the shed, bloodied, later on, bruised.”

Kenny Johnston
HuffPost UK
Kenny Johnston

Steven Altman, 32, who works as an assistant coordinator at Maytree, a London respite sanctuary for the suicidal, found himself in prison after his attempt.

“As a result of my suicide attempt and because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind and people could’ve been hurt, I was actually arrested,” he said.

“Although I had a lot of support from people, 11 months later I was sent to prison for arson and I served three and a half months of a 14 month sentence.”

Since then, both men have focused on getting help and are now sharing their stories in order to help other vulnerable people.

Each one of the survivors we spoke to found a different way to recover after their suicide attempt.

Jessica, a 30-year-old from London recommends you “seek help as early as possible”.

Meanwhile Joy Hibbins, who runs a suicide crisis centre in Gloucestershire, said she found a way out of the darkness by focusing on something she was truly passionate about.

“It became a real reason to stay alive,” she said.

Johnston added that if you think someone else may be feeling suicidal, simply saying “hello” can make all the difference.

That can lead onto a conversation that can save somebody’s life,” he said.

“[It] can make a big difference, not only to that individual, but also to their family and friends.”

For more information on suicide prevention, read our article on ‘How To Help A Loved One Who May Be Suicidal’, or contact the organisations below for support.

Useful websites and helplines:

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.

Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email:

HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41.

Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal in north London in a non-medical setting. For help or to enquire about a stay, call 020 7263 7070.

SANEline, open everyday 6-11pm on 0300 304 7000.