Bearing Witness to Pain and Suicide


For over 25 years much of my work was with this group of people. Sadly here in the UK all the therapeutic community units in the nhs have been closed down. They really did stop many becoming long term users of the mental health system, providing a safe therapeutic environment for over a year in some cases and keeping them safe for long enough to work through some of their problems. Not only did these units help the young adults in them, they were also a massive part of the development of the staff like myself who worked in them.

And yes there are people from those days I mourn and still remember and who will be remembered as long as I live.

Holding my childhood to ransom

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Between Rose and myself, today has involved touching base with or trying to arrange supports for 3 suicidal people. We’re home now, the doors are locked, the phones are off the hook, and we’re sharing dinner. Rose has cooked using these beautiful little tomatoes from our garden. Someone stole our trowel and I got paid today so I bought her another one. It’s become a project we love working on together, a little hub of abundance in the middle of our busy, at times tiring, lives.

We both know what it’s like to be in that place, how dark, lonely, and desperate it feels. Sometimes there’s concrete things we can do to help, linking people to resources, taking people to hospital, going around and giving them a hug. Sometimes there’s so little we can do except bear witness. To find some way to say “I see you. I hear your…

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