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EVERY CONTACT LEAVES A TRACE

I know I’ve used this title before, but this is important.  I’m just back from a run in the wonderful Scottish Borders.  Despite the mist, the drizzle and the April, yes April chill, running is my answer to the busy life I find myself leading.  It was well into my third mile that I started to think about penning this short blog.

Over past few weeks I’ve reached out to some friends who have lost friends through suicide.  At a time when you think that you just want to sit in a quiet room alone, for me, a friend checking in is just the tonic needed.  I know because it was that one person who reached out to me that made all of the difference.

I lost my dad in 2008.  He died by suicide.  My world started to get a bit difficult.  Putting my energy into caring for others meant that I wasn’t caring about myself.  When I did get the time to think I kept thinking and wondering if I had missed something.  I blamed myself for not spotting the signs that all wasn’t well with my dad.

It wasn’t until a friend reached out to me and asked if I was okay.  They reassured me that what happened wasn’t my fault.  That was it.   Knowing they were there was enough.  This intervention helped me to think differently about what had happened.  Whilst I did see some red flags, everything happened so quickly.  Talking to my friend helped me get past the guilt and put my efforts into doing things to help myself and others.

That is why I’ve learned more about this issue.  Suicide remains a big problem in our world.  There are more deaths from Suicide than from war and homicide put together.  Men continue to be at most risk of suicide.  With this new knowledge I decided that I would, whenever possible, be that friend that reached out to me.

It’s clear the ripple effect of suicide means that friends of those who die by suicide need our support also.  I feel that supporting a someone who has lost a friend to suicide is similar to supporting someone who you think may be thinking about suicide.  My advice is to have the courage to lean into the issue.  Talk to them about how they are feeling.  Just being there, that’s enough.  As I say in my title every contact leaves a trace.

For support on this issue contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or through their website at

https://www.samaritans.org/?nation=scotland

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