If you missed part one  and part two of my personal take on suicide prevention that I've called my 'suicide prevention toolkit' not to worry you can still refer back to them.  Anyway keep sharing  without much further ado...here's part three.

The electric drill of other people's grief

Thinking how people would react to my suicide is helpful. In the past, I have pictured the despair and grief that my family and friends would experience. It was hard to think of putting them through that pain and enough to make me think twice. Now that I am married, the thought of my wife having to cope is simply unthinkable. Sometimes people who are suicidal feel that the world would be better off without them. They may believe they have created a catastrophic situation and their friends and relatives would benefit from them not existing anymore. Again, this thought pattern is not borne out by reality. We know that families and friends suffer intense grief related to suicides and it even increases the risk of further suicides within the group. Considering the psychological impact on the person who would discover me is also a thought that has held me back.

The workbench of community

I have facilitated peer support groups for people with bipolar for ten years. Once a month, 20 - 30 people with the condition, carers and family members come to the group and talk for two hours, developing practical self-management techniques, and finding advice on how to help loved ones. It is common for people who have attempted suicide or who are experiencing suicidal ideation to attend the group. Managing a response effectively is a key part of my role, not least because the group needs to feel that the right support is being given. Failure to manage the situation adequately creates anxiety within the group and people might then be prompted to take action they are not trained for, which could involve risk.

When someone in a suicidal frame of mind comes to the group for the first time, I start by talking of my own experience as this creates a permissive environment where suicidal thoughts can be discussed openly. I stipulate that methodology is not a topic for discussion, neither is recounting historical attempts. Instead, I get the group to focus on practical techniques to deal with the ideation. The group is overseen by Bipolar UK, who provide insurance, manage background checks for facilitators, develop policies, train the 450 volunteers who run the 123 groups countrywide and manage the group's finances, which in our case is simply ensuring our room hire is paid. If someone is suicidal when they come to the group, we offer to pass their phone number to the charity's staff, who will contact them, helping them engage with statutory health services and other support.

People develop their own networks of friends within the group and it can be the cornerstone of someone's journey to rebuild their lives. In the 10 years I have facilitated the Central London group, over 500 people have attended and I am not aware of us having lost anyone to suicide.

The sense of belonging to a group, finding a new set of supportive friends and sharing experiences has no doubt contributed to these and other success stories. This is corroborated by feedback in Bipolar UK's annual surveys in which service users report a reduction in suicidal ideation in each of the charity's service delivery methods: peer support groups, the helpline, the e-community, and information on the website.


Your donation will help provide a 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.