Friday, 25 January 2019

Call it what it is

Are you thinking about suicide? If you are, tell someone. 
There is help out there, please click here 

I was chatting with a Walk2Runner this morning about the RunningSpace logo and my plan to add a tag line to it, ‘Running to beat Suicide’.

He balked a little and suggested I might want to consider something less full-on, such as Running to beat Despair.

The trouble is, I AM Running to Beat Suicide. Ever since I started this journey, I've been very clear that I must not dilute the message. We run, but it’s not to lose weight, get fit, make friends, it’s not even to support good mental health, although it does all of the above and more. Our number one and our only goal is to Run to beat Suicide.

Let’s explode a myth. Asking someone with thoughts of suicide “are you thinking about suicide”…

…Does NOT
                Put the idea into their head. After all, it’s extremely unlikely that they’re never heard of suicide or know that it’s an option

…DOES
                Let that person know that you are comfortable and confident talking about suicide. Direct talking actually reduces risk and increases safety. In fact, if you ask someone who is feeling suicidal directly “Are you thinking about suicide?”, they often feel relieved.

As I teach safeTALK Suicide Alertness for Everyone, I can pretty much tell who in the room has experienced suicidal thoughts. It tends to be those who have never encountered it that find it difficult to say the word. And that’s completely OK, that was me too, and that’s why they’ve chosen to attend the training.  

What euphemisms do we use instead of talking directly about suicide? We talk about “doing something silly” (could be dressing up as Ronald Macdonald). We talk about “feeling like I’ve had enough” (chocolate cake?). We also are pretty OK with “are you self-harming?”. Yet even this, though tragic and needing support, does not help us know whether suicide is involved or not.  

How then do we know if suicide is involved?

There is only one way.

Ask directly. “Are you thinking about suicide”.

If the answer is ‘yes’, the next step is simply to listen. Say “This is important, I am listening.”


My passion is to see every life lived in all its fullness and not one be lost to suicide. For now, I am letting you know that by using our new logo we are saying that we are comfortable and confident talking about suicide, and we are Running to Beat Suicide.

Come and run with us, it might just save a life.



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