Tuesday 2 August 2022

We need proper action to stem the tide of young people taking their own lives


What is the worst thing that could happen to you? Two of my very best friends have suffered what I suspect is the worst thing. They have both suffered the loss of a child to suicide. My friends Chris and Elaine lost their lovely daughter Ellie just before lockdown. It was a devastating blow. What troubled me more than anything was that lockdown hit and I simply couldn't be the friend I felt I should be during their darkest period. They live in Yorkshire and unlike Dominic Cummings, I did not feel that a trip up the M1 to 'test my eyesight' was responsible.  I wrote about it on 12th March 2020. Before the dust settled on the blog, we were in lockdown. We had a few phonecalls, but to be honest, I felt this was difficult and awkward, as I had no insight, nothing to say, nothing to add. If we'd been able to see them, have a beer and a chat, maybe I could have at least got to properly empathise, but I felt useless. 

I felt pretty damn awful about the whole thing. I made a personal vow to myself that if ever I was in the situation of having to support a friend again, I'd try and do better. I hoped and prayed that the Good Lord would spare me that burden. Sadly, last January (2021), another tragedy struck. The drummer of my band, on and off since 1985, saw the tragedy of his son taking his own life. For Graham, in some ways it was even worse. He was testing positive for Covid, so couldn't even leave the house to do anything. He was aware that his son was troubled, we'd had long chats about it, but suicide did not seem to be something that was discussed. I don't really think anyone knew the depths to which his son had sunk. What was clear for a long time before was that he needed support and this wasn't there. 

I wrote a blog on the subject at the time. It is a rather painful blog to read. I felt useless again, but I vowed to do something, anything to support Graham. The only thing I really thought I could do was to get him active in the studio again. I wrote some new songs and we started to work on a new album. I shaved my head to show solidarity with Graham and made a short video explaining why. 

It was all I could do. I was very worried about Graham. He's had his own mental health issues. He's been sectioned three times in his life. He is constantly on medication for it. I had no idea if he could cope. I was terrified that something would happen to him. I have always believed that music heals the soul. I'm not sure if this is true, but Graham tells me that playing in the band in the dark days helped get him through. 

I don't think anyone could get through such an event unscathed. Graham has had his ups and downs. Although he doesn't give himself the credit he deserves, apart from being an excellent drummer, he's a very intelligent, insiteful and sensitive soul. I've often felt that the reason Graham and many others have mental health issues is because they actually see the world for what it really is. It can be scary, I think people like me spend their life wrapped up in a fantasy in their own little world, pretending that tbad things aren't really happening. I think perhaps Graham lives a little too much in the real world. 

Anyway, please can I ask for your help. Graham has started a petition to get a massive increase in NHS resources for mental health and suicide prevention. PLEASE CLICK HERE AND SIGN IT

Why did Graham start it? Here are his own words.
Because of the shocking catastrophic loss of life due to whatever the wide spectrum of ailments are and that is a really large and complex spectrum ,The n.h.s is in a position to make a difference but it's not deemed a priority, only when it lands in a very common crisis situation and even then people are being failed and are dying unnessescarily having lost a son to suicide because the hospitals wouldn't admit him on the grounds that he didn't present debilitating symptoms of mental illness this is a classic mistake for the n.h.s not following up on cases were people including my son were showed off premises 10 to 20 times he even got 3 months jail for unlawfully holding 2 mental health nurses in a siege he thought it was nothing until a warrant was out for him the T.S.G turned up tasered him after he told em he had a gun then straight to court and 3 months ,not one of these authoritarians could have stopped and said why did this man do all this there is a lot more but I'll be late for work .this is an example of the shocking state of our n.h.s yes OUR it's our money that runs it don't belong to them whoever they are so dig in and speak and step up .what a great organisation CHANGE .ORG IS GOOD DAY
This is a real plea from the heart. It is seared with the pain of having experienced the worst that life can throw at you. Please share this with your friends. Don't think this couldn't happen to you or your loved ones. We are civilised Nation and I passionately believe that the health and happiness of our young people is the most important job of stewardship we have in life. We are failing them. We need to change the way we approach this whole issue.

Most people with Mental Health issues do not attempt to commit suicide, but they still need help. Some government ministers do not even accept that Mental Health issues are an illness. Sadly, many people find out the hard way that they are, and for some are as deadly as cancer or a heart attack.

I'll leave you with a short clip of Graham playing the drums on a new song we we started working on last week. For myself and Graham, music is a ray of sunlight in a punishing world (you can get a sneak preview of the full album we've been working on here soundcloud.com/falsedots/sets/the-false-dots-a-finger-in-the ) - I have untold admiration for the work Graham has put into this music over the last 18 months. I think it shows that you cannot dim human spirit completely. Sadly Graham tells me that mental health services that got him through his first breakdown simply don't exist anymore. Which may or may not be why he's here to make this amazing music and his son won't be. 

If you are having issues with mental health you may want to contact your local branch of  Mind


If you are feeling suicidal, please contact Samaritans


One lesson I've learned from the events of the last few years is that I really don't think Young people are aware of how loved they are or that there will be brighter times ahead, if you hang in there.

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