I must say, I was confused to see an article by the BBC detailing that "The number of people taking their own lives in England is unacceptably high". The first thing that crossed my mind was that, surely, anything above 0 is an unacceptably high rate of suicide? The second thing was that once again, a conversation has taken place in England, about England, whilst those of us in Northern Ireland continue to hear little more than radio silence and quite frankly, pathetic excuses as to why more cannot be done to support our people living with and suffering from mental illness(es).
So, due to the fact that I've discovered through experience that politicians involved in healthcare have a nasty habit of brushing off the concerns of "outsiders" (aka, the people whose lives they're playing with), I decided I'd sit and write a response for all to see. Maybe you'll join me in voicing our concerns; after all, it's harder to ignore nationwide outrage.
First of all, when are we going to remember that people are individuals? Stop looking at the numbers. As I've already stated, anything above a 0 should be considered an unacceptably high level of suicide. When are we going to sit down and question why each person is falling through the cracks? It's not hard to work out. I challenge every MP to look at the number of suicides in their constituency and look at the availability of mental health services. Maybe even talk to the families who have lost loved ones, find out how many lost souls had known mental health issues and were unable to access satisfactory help before it was too late.
Second of all, again, I'm repeating myself, but why isn't this conversation taking place in other parts of the UK? When are the politicians of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales going to address the issue of suicide in their countries? It's all very well talking about the levels of suicide in England being "unacceptable", but why are we waiting for the numbers to reach that point? Surely we should be doing absolutely everything in our power to stop them in their tracks?
MPs are elected to represent their constituencies, not just England. Why aren't they speaking up about the issue of suicide in their own areas? This is a conversation that needs to be had, and it needs to be had right now. I'm happy to see it being talked about, I really am, but I am slightly concerned that it appears to have been left until figures become embarrassing for government.