‘We had no idea...there were no signs’
Or were there?!
Sadly, last year one of our rugby players committed suicide. This passing has had a devastating effect on the club, members, friends and family. More recently more personal to myself a family member and Naval Seaman killed himself and again there were no clues… In hindsight there were signs, but no one picked up on them.
Suicide is complex. It usually occurs gradually, progressing from thoughts, to planning, to attempting suicide and finally dying by suicide.
‘What’s Behind the Smile’ has been born from tragedy and the need to address mental health awareness. The purpose of this charity is to offer help to those suffering mental health anguish. We want to help others. We want to make a difference.
We want to raise awareness of mental health issues through the implementation of Mental Health First Aid Training (MHFAT).
1 in 4 adults
and 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health issue at any one time during their lifetime.
There are members in our community; now civilians, military and ex-military who face unique challenges and risks to their mental health. Long periods of time away from family during service, exposure to high stress situations and trauma, and the difficulty of adjusting between military and civilian life; all can impact on the mental health of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families. The most common ways these stressors impact on members of the armed forces are depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol misuse.
of the UK people who have killed themselves have been men. Stigma and lack of awareness around our mental health compared to our physical health is often a barrier to armed personnel getting the treatment they need to recover.
We want to empower everyone in the community to meet these challenges head on by equipping them with practical skills; by providing safe environments where counselling, MHFAT and therapies can take place. Long term we also want to offer support not just to the men and women of the military but their families. Families often get left behind due to the assumption they are ‘fine’. This is not always the case.
The training will be implemented through not only the military but the sporting arena as many ex service men/women partake in sport after leaving the service. A common sport being rugby.
The MHFA will be rolled out within the Rugby Union to begin with, allowing us to access some space to offer counselling, therapies and helping to get the word out there that independent help is available.
Our first aid training course will encourage others to help to look for signs; to look out for others and let them know someone cares.