Dear Anna Lewis
I would like to add my thoughts on the parity of esteem issue and suicidal ideation prevention.
I believe around six thousand people successfully end their life every year. This increased during the recession. There are tens of thousands of people who attempt suicide and I estimate the number of attempts might reach into the hundreds of thousands. What's perhaps worse is the lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation is around 17% (from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey.
These statistics describe a tragedy which desperately needs to be addressed with a sense of urgency and priority. What's key but in absence are the activities which prevent suicidal ideation because this is an awful mind state, one I've lived with for many years.
My experience is a lack of solutions. Suicide prevention in the main utilises methods such as medication, talking therapies, making suicide methods hard to acquire and censorship of suicide method-related content. So far nothing has changed my desperate desire to die and if anything things have gotten worse.
My firm opinion is there is a missing direction in suicide prevention. There's a dearth of activities aimed at preventing people becoming suicidal in the first place. In my opinion the onus for this angle of suicide prevention is based upon the recognition of the terribleness and awfulness of a conscious, sentient mind that wants to cease its existence. It is an unrecognised crime that harsh culture and society wrought too much pain on those driven to contemplate death as their only exit from a too painful to bear reality.
I don't think enough people share this view but, perhaps, the parity of esteem debate can accept the objective even if the reasoning is different. In summary I'm talking about the equivalence between physical pain and mental pain with special respect to suicide.
Employers, for example, must follow health and safety laws to prevent physical harm, injury and the death of their employees. There's no mental health and emotional safety laws however. The evidence of the recession increase in the suicide rate and the non-recession employment-caused suicides (mainly through people becoming unemployed) are salient reasons to justify preventative measures like physical health and safety laws. These save lives and if applied with parity of mental health new measures could reduce the harm and death.
There are also laws defining physical crimes, eg grievous bodily harm, which aim to prevent physical harm. Perhaps one day there maybe laws legislating to reduce mental harm. In fact I believe there are laws against bullying?
I believe there is necessary social change to reduce the high level of people who experience suicidal ideation. Again, the parity of mental health is the reasoning to create the impetus for this sort of suicide ideation prevention.
Psyches need to be protected and lives saved. The parity issue could be the spark which mandates new measures be put in place.
I appreciate this may seem simplistic in justifying a radical new direction using the parity of esteem and the solutions I've provided may not be realistic in the short term. What I'm trying to convey is the possibility, the hope, that the mental health system can genuinely tackle suicide by reducing the proverbial plague of suicidal ideation. The 17% figure (1 in 6) is simply awful. It's just the tip of the iceberg of distress (higher than 1 in 4 every year).
Parity of esteem could cause the government and the mental health system to really attack these challenges and create real progress in abating the harshness of life which causes the harm to the psyche.
Thank you for reading my heartfelt thoughts. Please take some time to consider what I've said.
- sent from a tablet