Brave Lincoln suicide survivors speak out: The true impact of mental health issues

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In the last year, at least 75 people in Lincolnshire took their own lives. They joined more than 6,000 others across the country.

Suicide remains the leading cause of death for both men and women between the ages of 20 and 34 years.

In a new mini-documentary, The Lincolnite spoke with survivors of suicide, reflecting the true impact of one of the county’s biggest killers and bringing issues surrounding mental health care to the fore.

Ashley Hill, 35, from Lincoln is well-known in the city as the administrator of the ‘alternative news’ Facebook page Lincoln Problems. 

Taking on another confident role as drag DJ Velma Vile by night, Ashley says he often faces misconceptions that his mental health issues and multiple suicide attempts are “just for attention”.

Sixteen-year-old Abbie Linder, from Welton, began to self harm when confronted with bullies at school. She tells of the harrowing experiences she faced which saw her take an overdose one tragic school day.

Mum Mandy Linder is now encouraging people from all ages and backgrounds in the community to come together to help and support each other through Embrace, a group set up after her daughter bravely spoke out.

She said more needs be done at a young age so that people understand mental health issues and how to deal with them.

After being turned away when the family first appealled to the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), she feels ‘disgusted’ that it wasn’t until a suicide attempt that her daughter received help.

One of the biggest challenges faced by the trust responsible for mental health care in the county is lengthy waits for moderate to severe mental health cases.

Over 800 people are currently facing long queues to access the Adult Clinical Psychology Service. As of March 2016, the longest waits are on Lincoln and Louth, with patients having to hold on for 31 months before accessing the care they need.

Concerns over the level of support in the county are addressed in the mini-documentary by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Medical Director Sue Elcock, who spoke about the trust’s new suicide prevention strategy.

The trust has also recently benefitted from a £150,000 expansion of its Peter Hodgkinson Centre in Lincoln, which supports people suffering from mental health problems.

An additional £1.4 million of funding is also set to be injected into mental health support in Lincolnshire for children, young people and their families.

If you need help now, please use these suicide helplines:

  • Samaritans General Number – 0845 7909090
  • Papyrus Suicide Help Line – 0800 0684141
  • Get Connected – 0808 8084994
  • Breathing Space – 0800 838587

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