What can we do to support people in mental crisis?
Updated: Mar 4
There was an article in the Mail Online two days ago detailing how a young girl was saved by a sympathetic and quick thinking stranger who found her on the edge of a bridge contemplating taking her own life. Jess Paramor, then 19, was in mental crisis and about to jump when passerby Tony Witton, stopped, managed to calm her, talk her down and get her to safety.
Jess has now recovered and is studying pharmaceutical science at Lincoln University, she hopes to help improve psychiatric medicine in the future - a future which could easily not have been realised. You can find the full article here.
This story is similar to that of Jonny Benjamin who was talked down from Waterloo Bridge when also considering suicide. After he recovered, Jonny managed to find his rescuer with a successful "#FindMike" campaign on Twitter.
Jonny has gone on to do an enormous amount to break stigma and promote awareness of mental health illnesses through Youtube videos, talks, interviews and social media campaigns. He is an advocate for the "Heads Together" charity which was founded by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, and even earned an MBE for his services to mental health. You can find an interview with Jonny here and on the home page.
So, what can we do to help those in mental crisis? Well, firstly we can all be extra vigilant as we go about our daily lives, looking out for people and offering help and kindness to those that need it. Giving help by suggesting the contact of a family member or friend and calmly reassuring them that things are going to be alright will also be of comfort.
When I was lying in bed feeling absolutely terrible in my last - 18 month long - depression, it was the little things that friends and family did that made the difference. My younger sister would periodically come and sit on my bed, hold my hand and just say, "are you alright darls?" and "you know I love you don't you?" My friend Cindy would persist in sending messages now and then just checking in even though most of the time I was unable to answer.
Little comments and loving statements, as well as knowing that people were thinking of me, were just about enough to keep me hanging on to life until the storm of depression finally abated. The person experiencing a mental health illness needs treating just like someone who is suffering from a physical illness - they need love, support, comfort and understanding, it's really not that complicated!
What do you do for those in mental crisis? If you suffer from mental illness what can others do to effectively support you?
I would love to hear from you and expand on this blog post in the future, so please share this article or website to others that you think would benefit from it.
Speak to you soon.