LIKE most of the world, I watched Oprah’s interview with Harry and Meghan last week.
And like so many, I was struck by Meghan’s brave admission that she felt suicidal while expecting the couple’s son, Archie.
Never has there been a more important time to talk about this. What Meghan described is known as suicidality and it’s much more common than suicide itself.
It’s where people harbour serious thoughts about taking their own lives, may plan to kill themselves and sometimes go on to try. For some people they will never get close to trying to take their own life but will be consumed by thoughts of it.
But if you experience suicidality, you are at much higher risk of taking your own life. The pandemic has only served to increase the number of people suffering and data shows that women have had to bear the brunt of it.
The pressures of homeschooling, keeping up with the housework and working from home, have all taken their toll on women. And expectant mums are at particular risk.
Studies have shown that suicide “near misses” during pregnancy and after childbirth are increasing, having nearly tripled in the last decade. And suicide is the leading cause of death in women between six weeks and one year after having a baby.
As many as one in five women suffer mental health problems while they’re expecting or after giving birth, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Depression and anxiety are most common, affecting about ten to 15 in every 100 pregnant women.
Just like at any other time in your life, these mental health problems can vary in their severity and there are lots of different types. If you have suffered in the past, then it can be a worry because you are likely to be at higher risk of becoming unwell again, particularly after giving birth.
But, with the right help this can be managed.
Speaking out is brave
There are lots of reasons why being pregnant can trigger a relapse or see women suffer for the first time. It’s a time when you can feel particularly isolated, you might be socialising less and not seeing friends as often, especially at the moment.
You might not feel able to go to the gym or your usual exercise classes. I have suffered with anxiety in the past, and I know for a fact that exercise is my medicine. If I don’t get enough in, I can feel my anxiety creeping back.
Changes to your role, stopping work or becoming a mum for example, can have an impact, as can changes to your relationships, hormones and body.
You might be questioning if you will be a good parent, fear childbirth, worry about a lack of support and worry about the health of your unborn baby. It’s a time where everyone expects you to be happy and glowing.
So if you are struggling with mental health problems, you can feel guilty and worry that you will be judged for that – that people will think you’re a bad mum. Lots of women go through this and it is normal to feel stressed and anxious at times.
Speaking out shows bravery, not weakness, and getting the help you need is being an amazing mum to your baby. So it’s important to speak to someone you trust. And if you happen to be the person trusted, it’s so important you take it seriously.
Someone sharing their suicidal thoughts or fears over their mental health is a worrying sign and absolutely not something you can ignore. People do not say things like this if there isn’t a serious problem. So if somebody goes so far as to verbalise their suicidal thoughts, it is your duty to believe them.
Don’t be afraid to check what they said and ask what they mean. It’s OK to reply by saying, “Am I right in thinking I just heard you say you are feeling suicidal?”
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
Get clarification and then ask, “How can I help?”
There is always a way out, but too often people suffering can’t see it. If you are feeling suicidal, just know it will get better. Other people who have been through the same storm will tell you that, so hold on to that. Speaking to someone you trust is the most important thing you can do.
- IN an emergency, dial 999. You can also call the Samaritans on 116 123 (freephone) or visit their website, or email [email protected] Contact your GP for an emergency appointment, or call a mental health crisis team via NHS 111.
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article