If you missed part one, two, and three of my personal take on suicide prevention that I've called my 'suicide prevention toolkit' you can still refer back to them. Anyway keep sharing ...here's part four.

The monkey-wrench of meaning

I have found self-help books useful in the past and one that I often recommend is 'Man's Search for Meaning' by Victor Frankl. He built a career in psychiatry having survived life in a concentration camp. He observed that some of his fellow prisoners had been more resilient than others and concluded that the difference was because they had found meaning in their lives despite the obvious horror of their surroundings. Volunteering to help others and the sense of purpose that comes with it has a very distinct benefit and can be extremely useful in rebuilding self-esteem. Helping others with suicidal thoughts has helped me find meaning in the experiences I have been through.



The anvil of language

I think it's important to pay attention to the language I apply to myself but also the messages I receive socially. Is it helpful for example to point out that groups of the population are more at risk? In the warped logic of a suicidal mind this can become a justification. I have thought to myself in a suicidal phase 'I'm male, in the risky age range and I have bipolar so people will forgive me if I do this - it's almost pre-destined'. Equally, someone may feel that resources are being unfairly targeted at certain groups that they don’t belong to, and it is therefore important not to focus on men at the exclusion of the 25% of suicides that are female, for example. There is no doubt a balance to be struck in how we communicate about people at risk. However, it is important that we try to be more open about this issue. As a society, I think we need to normalise talking about suicidal ideation when it occurs, and abnormalise acting on it.

There'll be more on the 'suicide prevention toolkit' tomorrow.


Your donation will help provide range of services offering the support people need, when they need it steering people away from suicidal ideation. You can make sure there's someone at the end of the phone to listen, a nearby group to share experiences, a 24-hour peer forum and more.

Together, we can support the person behind the diagnosis of bipolar.