This week I had some devastating news that deeply upset me and also made me reflect on myself. One of my friends committed suicide.

This was truly shocking and saddening news to hear. Although I know numerous people who have attempted suicide, including myself, I’ve never known someone to successfully complete it. In fact, I hardly know anyone on a personal level who has died, I’ve never even been to a funeral before.

I met my friend through a recovery “university” I attend. The “university” runs several different mental health courses to pick from and an optional recovery drop in cafe, all once a week. She never did the same courses as me however we were both regulars of the recovery cafe, and all us regulars became quite close.

The day I found out I had come to a depression course I had signed up for. Another friend told me the upsetting news in the bathroom and then we went and told one of the mental health staff members that runs the recovery “university”. He spoke to us and iterated it was not our faults and that it will be hard and other comforting words.

My friend turned to go into the course room but I then felt like I was going to burst into tears so I ran to the bathroom and cried for a bit. When I came out the mental health staff member was waiting for me, took me to a private room and spoke to me for a while. He then said if I needed to leave the group at anypoint I can and he will come out and check I’m okay. He also said I could ring him once I got home if I needed to.

I don’t know what I would have done without him there. He is probably one of my favourite people who have helped me with my mental health, not just in this situation but he has also been kind and has good banter and laughtwhen at the recovery cafe. I also tried contacting my CPN the last few days but had no luck getting ahold of her.

The suicide made me think, because, I’m not her best friend, or even a really close friend – we only see each other at the recovery cafe. Yet it affected me deeply. When you are suicidal, you think that only your really close friends and loved ones would be saddened by the news of your death (or sometimes you even think no one would care at all) but I learnt that that is not true. Even people who have only known you for a few months and who you don’t consider close will grieve your loss.

It also made me realise, with so many beloved friends with serious mental health conditions, it was likely for me to experience this one day. yet I just could never have been prepared. I just strongly hope I never experience a loss in this way again.

I am so thankful that I’ve got a large support group. I’ve got the staff and people who attend the recovery “university”, my CMHT, the Haven Personality disorder support group clients and staff, the breakfast club I go to, the MIND group I go to, online friends and of course my family and close friends.

Everyday around 2,200 people in the world commit suicide and 90% of those are related to mental illness. We need to do something about this. We need to break the stigma and raise awareness of suicide and mental health.