Trigger Warning: Some of the themes relating to suicide in this article may be triggering

This is a sensitive topic to many and has affected too many people, more than it should. The statistics are scary and behind every figure is a person, family, friends and loved ones that have been touched by sadness and loss.

In the modern world there is a discussion around how to refer to the tragedy: ‘completed’ sounds like a task to be carried out; ‘committed’ sounds like a crime. After a lot of thought, personally, I have settled on ‘taken her own life’. It doesn’t sound like much but if you feel more comfortable with how to express yourself then you can feel a bit more at ease when broaching the subject.

In 2001 a great friend of mine suffered a devastating accident and has been paraplegic ever since. He spent nearly a year in a spinal unit to gain what movement back that he could. On many visits we would go to the duck pond and in the hot weather he found it warm so I managed to find a wide brimmed hat in a charity shop, a Bangladeshi Cricket Team hat to be precise. I paid the princely sum of £1.

The hat was well received by my friend although it was too small. Every day for a month the nurses wet the hat and stretched it for Stephen until it finally fitted.

Stephen told me many stories of how some of the patients were getting on, including an Asian man who was in distress. He told Stephen how he had tried to take his own life on four occasions. He was planning a future attempt but Stephen talked with him calmly.

The subject of heritage came up between the two friends and Stephen asked where he was from. The man replied ‘Bangladesh’. Without hesitating Stephen told him he had a present for him and rolled off to his room. In a few minutes Stephen was back with the Bangladeshi Cricket hat and gave it to the man. He was delighted with it and thanked Stephen with tears in his eyes.

On his discharge from hospital the man told Stephen that his act of kindness had changed things for him and he was able to see the good in people again. Although living with his disability was going to hard he was able to see the positives again.

Sometimes even small acts of kindness can make all the difference to someone and this story has stuck with me for 20 years. Sometimes all you need is a spark that can show all the kindness in the world and make a difference.

Stephen and I are still great friends and although he is severely affected by his accident he is always kind and thoughtful in all he does.

I am proud to call Stephen my friend and he has taught me much, even when he was in darkness himself.

I suppose my message is look after each other and always try to be kind. Sometimes we all need a Bangladeshi Cricket hat.

if you or anyone you know have been affected by the issues raised in this post, you can access help and support via our crisis help page