Preventing suicide: Creating Hope Through Action


Suicide is on the increase, according to the Samaritans. Whilst this may not come as a surprise the tragedy is that suicide is always preventable. The Samaritans are here 24/7 for everyone, and believe in creating hope through action.

But how can you prevent yourself from sinking into despondancy? And more than that, find the motivation to keep going?

Winston Churchill suffered greatly with periods of depression throughout his life. He named his depression the “black dog“.

I had a black dog, his name was depression

The following video gives you more an idea of what the black dog/depression can feel like, and how it can creep up on you unawares.

Above all, it demonstrates how you can shrink your depression, and begin the fight back to happiness.

“Keeping up an emotional lie is exhausting”.

As a veteran you may be more likely than others to feel depressed. And to feel suicidal. However, the ways of dealing with feelings of hopelessness is similar for vets and non-vets.

Here are some tips from the Samaritans, plus some ways that veterans can minimise the risk of suicide.

Go for a walk with a friend

Getting outside is the first step in reconnecting with nature. If you haven’t much strength you can still meet friends and go for a walk. That first step sets you up for the day.

Armed Forces and Breakfast Clubs are free to join, and you’ll meet like-minded people. You can join on Facebook to keep up with the latest news. This gives you the chance to make new friends online, before meeting up in person.

If you’re too ill to go outside, connecting with others online is always a great way to stay in touch and build friendships.

Age UK, and their partner Silver Line offer help with face-to-face and telephone befriending 

Also, check out our tri-services list of Referral Partners. You’ll be able to find information and contacts who understand what it’s like to be a veteran. Many of our partners offer the chance to take part in walks/runs and other physical activities.

Our friendly helpline team is there for you 24/7. They can also refer you directly to our Referral Partners. But if you prefer you can check out  Veterans’ Gateway Self help section for suggestions, prior to contacting our team. Remember to select your location, as the search defaults to England.

Keep a gratitude journal

Focussing your thoughts on what makes you happy makes it easier to build  optimism and confidence. Being grateful for the small, and big, positives challenges those thoughts that buzz around in your head making you feel that your life is meaningless.

Here are some practical tips from the Samaritans to help you look after yourself when you’re feeling down. Getting involved in activities such as gardening, building models and racing cars can give you more to feel grateful about. See our  list of suggested organisations who cater for vets.

Pause and reflect

Everyone has been on high alert since the start of the pandemic. Adjusting to change can be exhausting and it’s important to give yourself some time out. Search our Self help section for ideas around building the resilience of your family and community.

Sometimes you won’t recognise the warning signs of being  ill. This Q&A guide about PTSD, in collaboration with Combat Stress, will help you to identify feelings and how to ask for help.

The final thought goes to Churchill, his legacy, and the other side of the coin.

But in a strange conjunction of events, it may have been this same black dog – together with the intervention of a loyal friend during a few fateful days in early May 1940 – that enabled Churchill to achieve the position from which he could alter the course of history.

See Veterans’ Gateway bulletins and news for the latest updates. Search Self help to explore our guides, and read inspirational Veterans’ Stories.

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