Late last night I saw something that both saddened and sickened me as well as making me extremely angry.
I saw people taking to twitter to be vile and abusive about a desperate man , clearly in crisis …… It’s not the first time I’ve seen this happen , it’s no wonder there is so much stigma attatched to mental health.
The M42 , a major motorway in the midlands was closed yesterday at around 12pm and remains closed this morning as I write this , at 7:45 .
It’s closed because a man is threatening to jump and negotiations have been taking place all through the night. The police have closed it for the safety of both the man and the people travelling by car.
I can fully understand that people who were stuck in stationary traffic for many hours were angry. It must have been incredibly frustrating for anyone travelling , especially those travelling with young children and babies or elderly people.
People wouldn’t have been able to get to work or perhaps weddings or days out …… BUT a man , a fellow human being has reached a point of such desperation and despair that they have been driven to stand on the outside edge of a bridge and seriously contemplate ending it all. I can only imagine the agony and turmoil of that poor man.
I have no idea of this mans background or what has driven him to this point , I don’t know his mental health history but he is someone’s son , grandchild , possibly a brother , an uncle , a husband , a father , a friend. He is a human being in crisis and there but for the grave of god go I .
I read tweets last night that turned my stomach , tweets saying things like
hurry up and jump
Why doesn’t someone go and push him , get it over and done with
Why don’t the police get helicopters up there , they might blow him off the bridge
If I was going to end it I wouldn’t do it on a busy motorway so the traffic would be held up all day
If you really wanted to jump you would just jump
A man wanted some attention so he’s standing over the edge of a bridge
There were many more similar tweets.
I even saw people posting photos of the man , captioned ” the suspect ”
…… He’s not a suspect , he’s a man in turmoil. Maybe he has been to afraid or ashamed to seek help , maybe he has sought help and it hasn’t been enough.
I don’t know.
I see tweets of a similar nature whenever a poor tortured soul jumps in front of a train.
And it makes me ashamed , ashamed of the society that mocks these people , that cares only about the inconvenience to themselves .
Such tweets can only add to the stigma that surrounds mental health.
And imagine reading these tweets if you were suffering , feeling like you wanted to harm yourself or commit suicide , these tweets only reinforce the ( very wrong) idea that feeling this way is something to be ashamed of.
To have depression , nobody chooses to have suicidal thoughts and feelings.
Depression chooses you , it chooses without discrimination , it can choose anybody at anytime
It can affect any one of us regardless of who we are.
Nobody should be mocked.
Where is the compassion?
Where is the understanding ?
I hope the man on the M42 receives the help he needs and that this situation is resolved safely.
And I hope that the people who publicly mocked this man feel some shame over their words.
if you need help please don’t be afraid to ask for it , don’t be ashamed to talk about how you feel , if you are not able or ready to speak to your family , friends or your gp you can call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90
or if you are under 19 and you need help please call child line on 0800 11 11 this call will be free of charge and private and confidential.