WITH the untimely death of Robin Williams there has been a lot of discussion about suicide in the media over the past week.
About 60 people kill themselves in Cornwall every year. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
About 3.5 per cent of people can experience suicidal thoughts in any one year and about 1 per cent (or about 5,000 people in the county) may actually make plans.
People often have suicidal thoughts because their mind is attempting to find an escape from the overwhelming misery and pain of depression.
Also, the low mood of depression causes everything to be seen through a negative lens and the person can see no light at the end of the tunnel.
If you find yourself having any such thoughts, try to commit to holding on for at least 24 hours.
Just because you feel like doing something doesn't mean you have to do it right now.
It is also important to avoid alcohol or other drugs. They can make you much more impulsive.
It is then really important to seek the help of your GP.
Alternatively, many people find the Samaritans really helpful. You can call them on 08457 909090.
You cannot overestimate how helpful it will be to talk things through with another human being.
Finally, bear in mind that people do get through this. Depression feels permanent but it really will come and go.
It may be a cliché but the problem with suicide is that it is undoubtedly a permanent solution to what is a temporary problem.
When the depression is treated, these thoughts will diminish and, at the end of the day, most people feel a relief that they didn't act on them.
■ For NHS-funded help with anxiety or depression call Outlook South West on 01208 871905 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org