On Jan 21, 1668, the English civil servant and diarist Samuel Pepys received an urgent message from his cousin, Kate Joyce. “If I would see her husband alive,” Pepys wrote, “I must come presently.” He hurried to his relatives’ house and found Anthony Joyce gravely ill: “his breath rattled in his throat…all despair of him, and with good reason.” What was the cause? It transpired that Joyce had tried to drown himself in a pond, but he “was spied by a poor woman and got out by some people binding up hay in a barn there, and set on his head and got to life”. Pepys diligently documented the possible reasons why this attempted death by #suicide had occurred. Joyce himself saw his actions within a religious framework; he had been “led by the Devil…having forgot to serve God as he ought”. Pepys added another possible reason. Joyce, he supposed, had experienced “the sense of his great loss by the fire”—London’s Great Fire of 1666, which had wiped out many of the physical and economic structures of the city, and whose effects were still being felt. Pepys instinctively made the connection that modern suicidologists—following the lead of 19th century French sociologist Émile Durkheim—recognise is at the heart of their work, and which informs today’s thinking on #suicide in the context of #COVID-19. It is accepted that an individual’s specific psychological vulnerabilities are embedded in broader circumstances (such as prevailing social norms, economic factors, and the availability of means) that make a #suicideattempt more or less likely to happen, and more or less likely to have a lethal outcome. Within that simple statement is immense complexity and challenge, but also the possibility for many effective interventions to prevent #suicide and save lives. Awareness of the role of social and economic factors in #suicide has done much practical good in terms of shaping prevention policies, and might have helped reduce the damaging #stigma around the problem. However, some of the discourse around the #COVID-19 #pandemic has shown a less helpful consequence of this awareness.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle