A more useful Day 2 in ‘A week of useless knowledge’

21 January 2014

Yesterday, the headlines were:

Schools urged to do more

‘What now?’ I found myself thinking…. Another media spin on what teachers are not doing? But actually, in a bizarre twist, I did actually agree. The Samaritans and YoungMinds both say anti-suicide classes should be a mandatory part of the school curriculum. The two leading mental health charities claim that these ’emotional health’ lessons in schools could help young people to learn about coping skills and have conversations about seeking help. Having been a teacher for more than a decade, I couldn’t agree more and it would certainly help my colleagues still in the profession if they were provided with training about how to help young people deal with these issues.

As with many twenty-first century concerns, this is by no means a new issue for young people, or indeed for individuals of any age. There are an enormous number of pressures in today’s society and so, the need for coping mechanisms has never been greater.

Many famous artists and authors have not been versed with these strategies and some extremely talented individuals have been lost from the world too early.

Ernest Hemingway. Ernest had the genetic disease hemochromatosis, in which the inability to metabolise iron culminates in mental and physical deterioration. Having lost his father, sister Ursula and brother Leicester, to suicide, Ernest went the same way in 1961.

Virginia Woolf – born Adeline Virginia Stephen – was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. Suffering from depression, Woolf put on her overcoat on 28 March 1941, filled its pockets with stones, walked into the River Ouse near her home, and drowned herself.

In a Radio 1 documentary, Professor Green explains how his life and lyrics have been coloured by his father’s suicide and last night, he presented Suicide Survivors on BBC Radio 1 on 20 January at 21:00. Well worth listening to…. in my opinion….

Remember, no-one is alone. A vast amount of help is available, if/when people need it.

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