Borders facts and figures

Suicide prevention week campaign posters
Suicide prevention week campaign posters

In 2012, 23 people in the Borders committed suicide - it may end there for them but the aftermath for those who know them is never-ending.

One of those people in that bald statistic was a teenage girl from Berwickshire and her mother has spoken candidly of how all the local agencies involved were brutally honest with themselves in reviewing the case.

Suicide is a subject many shy away from but during Suicide Prevention Week agencies in the Borders are highlighting the help that is out there 24-7, as well as re-assessing their own suicide prevention plans in an effort to help people of all ages and from all walks of life.

“What I have realised is it’s a word people are frightened to talk about but when it happens and you come into contact with people you realise it spans age, gender and time,” said Mia’s mum.

“There are a lot of people whose families have been touched by it one way or another.

“Often you hear people say ‘I’m a burden’, particularly older people, but the thing is they leave their family with such a burden to carry.”

Mia’s mum was very much part of the review of her daughter’s suicide and has been encouraged by the honesty of the professionals involved.

“What they are trying to put in place is communication between everybody involved with someone who feels this way - the police, social work department, doctors, school - and put in place a holistic plan that supports every aspect of a person’s life.

“In Mia’s case there had been full disclosure from everybody involved which was a positive thing because they were all horribly shocked at what happened. But they were often tied by legislation and protocol. I had a list of things that I wanted covered by the review and they all were.”

Several months after the event, the police officer who found Mia accompanied her mother to the scene: “He helped me because he was the one who found her and I felt I helped him because I told him the end story - her ashes were scattered at her favourite place, Bamburgh beach - and he said it helped him to know that. It highlighted the human bonds of someone doing a job and being a parent, both dealing with a tragedy.

“Some people have a suspicion of social work but I can’t praise them enough. All these people work in this job because they want to help. You aren’t bothering them you are accepting the help that they are offering.

“In my experience it is an on-going process within the agencies involved, of self-evaluation and inter-communication. They are working towards a comprehensive and holistic approach to tackling suicide and providing the support for individuals and their families.

“Suicide leaves behind a trail of confusion, often guilt and shattered lives. The help is there from agencies and charitable organisations, all of whom are reaching out a hand to those who need it most.”