This is the background to the setting up of the charity Suicide Crisis.
The founder of Suicide Crisis explained her reasons for setting up the charity:-
” On 27th March 2012 I had a traumatic experience that changed my life. It was 10 days after a significant bereavement, which meant I was predisposed to having a more severe reaction to the subsequent trauma.
Within days of the traumatic event, I developed flashbacks and intense fear (symptoms of PTSD). I also felt that I could not live with the knowledge of what I had experienced – an experience that I was constantly re-living in my head. Within days I became suicidal and sought help from an out of hours GP.
The NHS crisis services that were available didn’t work for me. It’s often the case that a different member of the NHS crisis team will come out and see you each time. If you are traumatised, you need continuity and you need to be able to build up trust with a small team. NHS crisis support generally lasts between 2 and 4 weeks.
In terms of the charitable sector, The Samaritans are an excellent and highly respected organisation, but, again, you would speak to a different person each time . I needed to feel that I was known to a team.
On being discharged from the crisis team, I was told that psychological therapy was what I needed. However, there would be a waiting time of at least 8 months.
In that intervening period, whilst waiting for psychological therapy, I attempted suicide on more than one occasion.
I have no previous history of suicide attempts in my life.
People who have PTSD and/or a dissociative disorder are at increased risk of suicide. Research shows that they are particularly at risk of multiple suicide attempts ( research from the Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York).
The suicide attempts have left me with long-term physical damage.
This experience was the driving force behind the setting up of the charity. This gap in services needed to be filled, so we set up a Trauma Centre in May 2013 – part of our early intervention strategy.
A few months later, in autumn 2013, we set up our Suicide Crisis Centre. I wanted to set up the kind of suicide intervention services that would have helped me – small team, continuity of care, individualised support programme, and team members who had empathy and kindness.
I started to work on the charity Suicide Crisis in the summer of 2012, whilst still in crisis. It is possible that the reason why I was able to work on a suicide charity, whilst in crisis myself, was because I experienced dissociation (a trauma-related condition). This involves varying degrees of detachment. I was able to detach from my emotions – and almost detach from the part of me that was suicidal.
Trauma has many negative effects. However, the person that I was before the trauma could not have developed this charity. The difficulties and huge challenges would have defeated my previous self. The experience of trauma has given me a determination and a tenacity that I didn’t have before.
We know that this charity is offering something different. We are being accessed by clients who say they would not have used other services. They are exactly the clients that we wanted to reach – those who were not accessing help and whose silence about their suicidality put them at greater risk.
The charity is no longer just about my experience. We constantly listen to our clients, and the charity has evolved to provide the kind of additional services that they want.”