From the editor
ihave spent about two weeks putting off writing this month’s letter. Why? Because I have felt tired, overwhelmed and not in the right place mentally to put on a happy face and muster enough positive words to fill this page in the way I normally would. But today, I decided to write it anyway.
I am one of the lucky ones. I have a job working with a brilliant team. I work at a company that provides copious mental health support. I have a loving network of friends and family. I can afford to go to therapy. I have a body that is healthy enough to do yoga and go running. And still, I have days when it all feels too much.
Demand for mental health support has skyrocketed of late, and Samaritans data shows the suicide rate for females under 25 in England and Wales increased by 93.8% between 2012 and 2019. Meanwhile, budgets are being cut and hospital beds decrease. So this summer, over several weeks, features director Catriona Innes investigated the scope of the problem. From shadowing charity volunteers and speaking to healthcare workers to spending time with families impacted by suicide, her special report on p86 uncovers the reality of those on the frontline.
Her findings are both heartbreaking and eye-opening, but there’s also much to find solace in. The relentless dedication of those who are providing support, the kindness and understanding that permeated every conversation, and perhaps most of all, the commitment we can all make to open communication and removing stigma around mental ill health and suicide.
Because perhaps the most powerful thing we can all do is to talk. And so that’s what I’m doing here. Talk with your friends, your family, your colleagues, your boss, a helpline, a text service, a doctor… but talk. And whether you’re talking or listening, know you’re not alone, and help is out there.