I watched a very emotional programme on BBC1 last night called, Life After Suicide. A very brave woman who lost her husband to this awful tragedy, travelled the country talking to other family members who were trying to come to terms with their horrific loss.
I felt strongly after watching it that a follow-up documentary should be made. And that is on how to prevent this from happening. After all, as we all hear, prevention is far better than cure, right?
So this morning I was thinking about this fragile topic and wondering if personal coaching could possibly help anyone – or prevent them from becoming so desperate that their only option left is to take their own life.
I believe it can.
Now I am not sure if I will give this topic the quality it deserves but I hope I can serve it some justice. I will give it my best shot.
Now I only speak generally in this post. But I do speak from personal experience. I once had bed sheets tied around my neck and was stood on the bannister. I was fortunate enough not to jump. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to do that and they follow through with their intention and commit the act.
The facts are that the biggest killer for men under 50 in the UK is suicide. Can it be prevented? Can personal coaching help? I believe the answer to those questions are yes. But before I get to that I will share with you what I believe leads somebody to that point.
How does anyone get to suicide?
Again, I am basing this on my own personal experience and from what I have read and researched online over the years since my attempt. I think that there are several factors that lead somebody to believe that life would be better off without them.
These are not necessarily in the exact order as somethings can trigger others, if that makes sense.
Setbacks and Failures
I went through some pretty horrific setbacks. I lost my business, my money and my marriage all in a short space of time. On top of that I also experienced the unexpected and untimely loss of my sister, brother and Mum.
There was an increase in male suicides both here and the USA directly after the economic crash of 2008. Many people suffered setbacks and huge loss.
This could actually come before the above factor because in many ways I was under huge stress as I was witness to my marriage failing, my money dwindling week by week and my business going under. A stressed mind does not function as well as a stress free mind.
Marriage problems, unemployment, moving house, setbacks, bereavements, work, business and such like are all big contributors to stress.
Looking back, I first noticed my suicidal thoughts at this stage. They may well have been fleeting in nature at the beginning, but they grew fairly quickly.
This severe stress led me down to a dark hole of severe depression. And that is what stress can do. I think too many people undermine and underestimate the immense, dark power that lies hidden within stress when it is left untreated.
When suffering with depression, perspectives are heavily distorted. Everything can appear hopeless. A depressed mind views things completely differently to a non-depressed mind.
No Hope/Feeling Trapped
This is what I believe takes people by the hand and introduces them to depression. People don’t have any hope. They have goals and dreams (Maybe left in pieces after some setbacks) but they just cannot see a way of how they will ever achieve them. They lose all hope.
In the programme last night, a professor who has studied the behaviour of people who commit suicide highlighted this very point: That most of them felt trapped, they could not see a way out (Of the situation they were in).
This leads us guys to feel like we are a ‘burden to everyone’.
In a recent study, some 74% of people who were depressed were still depressed after being on medication for 5 years. In my opinion, this is because they still do not have any hope of achieving anything in their lives, or they still feel trapped and without hope of a brighter future.
A brutal and vicious circle
Put together of course, as these stages are being experienced they are fast chipping away at one’s self-confidence, self-belief and self-esteem. Without these three traits, it becomes a truly brutal and vicious circle. The negative situations decreases the self-belief, confidence and self esteem and these in turn increase the negative perspectives of the situations we find ourselves in.
So how can personal coaching possibly help?
Now obviously, not everyone who suffers stress or a setback is going to end up suicidal. However, suicide is a big problem. And so is stress. Stress, according to the World Health Organization (based on studies from various countries) predict that stress will be the # 1 health issue by 2030.
We need to go beyond ‘awareness’ of suicide. We need to be empowering men to learn how to prevent or minimise its risk in the first place
In the UK, stress has replaced ‘bad backs’ as the # cause for work absenteeism (Could be other reasons in there somewhere; but that’s for another blog post).
Stress, is the silent killer. It leads to all sorts of mental health issues if left untreated.
Here’s how I think personal coaching can help (Providing you find a great coach of course)
Coaching deals with NOW and what you can do now to influence and create a brighter and better future. It can help someone see that there is a way to be and feel worthwhile, both in life and to those that they love.
The coach becomes part of the support network
Research shows that people are 7 times more likely to live a life of full happiness after depression if they have a good support network around them.
A stressed or depressed mind distorts events and circumstances
The coach can help find a different perspective
As I said before, perspectives about everything can be heavily and negatively distorted when the mind is stressed or depressed. A coach can help somebody find new perspectives about their current situations.
The coach can build self-confidence and self-belief
I can never emphasise enough how these two traits in people, when fully charged, make all the difference in every situation somebody may find themselves in.
The coach can help build resilience
In life there will always be tough times. Life is sometimes cruel and unfair. It’s just how life is from time to time. The answer lies in building our resilience so we can bounce back better and faster from life’s adversities.
The coach is the non-judgemental listener
I never judge anyone when I coach. I am interested in their potential to move forward and my role is to help them achieve that. I can only know what is going on in my client’s mind if I truly listen.
One of the important things a coach must do is listen intently to their clients. As listening expert Julian Treasure points out, “If you’re upset and I really listen to you, you’ll become less upset. If I don’t listen to you, you’ll get more and more upset” (Not verbatim, by memory)
The coach can help the setting and achievement of goals
Goals are critical to not only our success, but our self-worth. In fact studies show that there are many great health benefits from having goals in life. These benefits include mental wellness too. The coach will know to set tiny, east-to-achieve goals for the person who is stressed or depressed.
The last thing somebody suffering from any kind of mental instability (Is that politically correct terminology? I don’t know) is a feeling of being overwhelmed. Small goals are critical in the early stages of the coaching process.
Goals give our lives purpose meaning and increase our self-worth and a strong sense of contribution.
The coach can be the feedback person and cheerleader
Unlike online learning or reading blogs and books, feedback is critical. It keeps people on track. It helps people get back on course if they veer off in some way.
But the coach, being totally non-judgemental, is also the cheerleader for that person. They are there to encourage and empower the man on his journey back to self-worth and the achievement of his goals.
The coach, through effective feedback will keep empowering you.
The coach will be ecological with all aspects of the coaching process
A good coach will ensure that the whole process of coaching is ecological to the client. This means they will ensure that the outcomes that they seek are for the wellbeing of the client and for those around them or connected to them.
Not just prevention
So this is why I believe coaching can even help someone out of contemplating suicide. Of course, as I have already stated, prevention is better than cure. Get coaching to relieve stress and improve your life is the first step in my opinion.
Most of the steps where a coach can help, were the steps I took to get me out of severe depression (without drugs) and bounce back from lifes’ adversities. So this is why I speak with some authority that the right coach can help somebody who is already at that deeply harrowing place. They can help them transform their lives.
I know because I did it.
I offer a 3 or 6 month coaching programme to help people turn their life around and bounce back. If you are interested in doing the same then please get in touch with me here or through the contact form. We can arrange a free skype (Overseas or UK) or telephone call (UK) first.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a counsellor or therapist. I am an NLP Practitioner and Life Enhancement Coach. I have personal experiences in suicide and depression and have managed to avoid the former and overcome the latter. I have studied human behaviour and people for over 27 years.
If you are suffering severe depression or have suicidal thoughts please see your GP or relevant professional practitioner. Alternatively, you may call the Samaritans. Their website and contact information is here