Joy Hibbins, a former teacher in Gloucestershire, England, became suicidal following a devastating incident and developed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Her own traumatic experience in 2012 led Hibbins to set up the Suicide Crisis charity a year later — a lifeline she says helped her also recover personally.
“It was a terrifying, horrifying and very shocking experience,” Hibbins told USA TODAY. “It was my own experience that showed me there was a massive gap in services.”
Suicide Crisis is an example of one of the many services around the world that try to deter people from taking their own lives with help from others. That’s the message of World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday. The International Association for Suicide Prevention is urging people around the world to light candles, support the cause on social media, take part in or organize an event and even cycle to show support.
The center has helped about 700 people in Gloucestershire and has never had a client commit suicide, Hibbins said. The charity also has a high number of male clients who like it in part because it isn’t connected to the national health system, so any information about their mental state won’t end up on official records and potentially affect their jobs.
“Their person-centered approach and emphasis on being understanding, kind and gentle is very inspirational, yet so simple and practical. People who have used the service are in no doubt that it has helped save lives,” said Helen Garnham, public health manager for Public Health England. “Their aim to be a zero suicide service whereby no one they work with takes their own life is an aim many are now aspiring to.”
The charity is staffed by 25 volunteers, eight of whom work directly with clients. People can come to the center’s office in Cheltenham or the volunteers can go to their homes.
“(It) gave me a reason to live, it gave me so much purpose,” Hibbins said.
If you are concerned about someone dear to you who is at risk of taking their own life, you aren’t alone.
More than 800,000 people commit suicide globally every year and many more attempt it, the World Health Organization reported. Suicide was the second leading cause of death in 2012 among 15- to 29-year-olds, after accidents.
Courtesy: Jane Onyanga-Omara