It’s hard to talk about mental health. The prospect of telling someone else aloud those dark thoughts you daren’t speak can seem daunting, if not alarming, for they are suddenly given weight, and aren’t just confined to your head. They are thoughts someone else now knows you have. The process of speaking necessarily involves making yourself vulnerable to friends and family, and for many – and men in particular – that can seem almost too much to bear.
September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, an awareness-raising event aimed at addressing the circumstances which lead to as many as 6,000 people in the UK taking their lives every year. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men between the ages of 20-45. The Movember Foundation’s affecting short film: Suicide notes talk too late, is a candid, unflinching, unembellished footage of suicide survivors reading the real suicide notes they intended to leave.
Here, we see the suicide note as a desperate last-ditch attempt to communicate and to explain the unspoken pain and the suffering that has lead to this most drastic of actions. The suicide note is written to be left behind. The suicide note isn’t spoken by the author, and isn’t heard until they’re gone, when nothing more can be done.
In Movember’s film, we see men speak the words they wouldn’t have been able to, had the worst happened and they’d followed through on their intentions. It’s a painful, heartbreaking watch, and clearly an agonising read, but the remarkable thing is that they’re still here to read it. And they’re still here because they were able to tell people what they once thought they were only able to write.
Talking is difficult. It can be painful, excruciating or distressing, but it is vital. If you feel like you need to talk; to family, friends, or to a comforting voice on the end of a helpline – don’t leave it too late.