Shropshire Star comment: Encourage people to talk and share their problems

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

Cheer up. It's not so bad. What is the problem? Things will look better tomorrow...

Suicide is now the leading, and increasing, cause of premature mortality in men under 50.

They are all different approaches to young men who are "down." All well intentioned, and some no doubt better than others.

Ordinary people will struggle to find the right response, but it can surely be generally agreed that those who are seriously depressed or troubled need to be given support to help them through their difficult times.

This is the issue which has been raised by Councillor David Turner of Shropshire Council, in the aftermath of the recent deaths of several Shropshire men.

While taking care not to pre-judge the outcome of inquests, Councillor Turner says suicide is now the leading, and increasing, cause of premature mortality in men under 50.

There are certain careers which carry a higher risk than others, and one is farming. For a county like Shropshire which has a strong agricultural base, that makes it a particularly pressing issue to address.


So, what is being done? Councillor Lee Chapman, in responding to Councillor Turner, gave details of a number of measures, including a dedicated suicide prevention network which was formed in September 2016.

Among other things in place is a Shropshire and Telford Joint All Age Suicide Prevention Strategy which aims to raise awareness, encourage people to talk, and find them a path out of their despair.


There have been strides then. If we imagine those who are depressed or with suicidal thoughts feel that they are in a deep pit with no way out, these are hands reaching down to help and haul them towards the light and warmth.

The positive message is to show that there is a way out, that things can get better, and the help and support is available.

How much difference such initiatives can make is almost impossible to quantify. Over the past year there have been a number of inquests in Shropshire on the deaths of men in which the verdicts have been ones of suicide.

Each has been a very individual story, and the causes and circumstances of the anguish have varied widely, but the common thread is that each death was tragic, and those loved ones left behind face heartbreak.


After such events there will always be that question: Is there anything else we could have done?

What we cannot know is how many lives have been saved - suicides prevented - by support those in despair have received.

There is no one answer, but encouraging people to talk and share their problems is clearly far better than leaving them to face their troubles alone.


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