(PETALING JAYA) Liz has been dealing with suicide prevention for the past two decades Dressed in a black outfit with shiny metallic bracelets and necklaces and wild blonde hair, Liz Try looked more like a punk rocker than the head of an international non-profit body. But the Befrienders Worldwide chairman is all heart. Dealing with suicide prevention for the past two decades, Try lives by her own quote, “I passionately believe the only hope for humanity is if we give each other the chance to be individuals.” Recently, she visited the local chapters while travelling the region, and gave a talk to mental health groups and NGOs at the Befrienders centre in Petaling Jaya.
Try, who has two younger brothers, was raised in the countryside outside of London. Her father worked at a building firm started by his father. Her mother was a housewife who was an active volunteer with the Red Cross. She has always been driven to helping others and started volunteering at the tender age of 13. Without her parents’ knowledge, she joined other volunteers from “Shelter” by sleeping in a cardboard box for a few nights to draw attention to the plight of the homeless. She then went on to study 3-Dimensional Design in Ceramics at the West Surrey College of Art & Design in Farnham and became a technical staff member and part-time tutor at the University of the Creative Arts. She has been a member of Samaritans, the equivalent of Befrienders in the United Kingdom, for 26 years now. Relating how she first started in advocacy work, she said: “I’ve had some colleagues who took their own lives. But the one case that stuck with me till today was when one of my own students killed himself. He took his father’s shotgun and shot himself in the head. He was 23.” That incident, she said, drove her to ask the question: “What’s going on here?” “Suicide touches everyone,” said Try, who also quoted the World Health Organisation’s statistics that 800,000 suicides and 20 attempts per suicide occurred worldwide every year.
She said this was a conservatively low figure; the real figure may be much higher as many suicides go unreported. The reasons for this is often to protect the deceased, or friends and family from the cultural stigma towards suicide. The top suicide cause is mental disorder, with one in every five people experiencing some form of mental illness throughout their lives. Some slide in and out of their illness while some never recover. Some also suffer from reactive depression following a traumatic event or even chronic depression. Hanging is the most common method of suicide among victims, but access to other means such as poison or firearms are preferred where available. Studies have shown that just by adding a simple obstacle, such as a barrier near train tracks or storing pesticides in a locked box, could often cause suicide rates to drop dramatically. “This is because most people just need that extra moment to allow that thought of suicide to pass through their minds and disappear,” said Try. She said suicide prevention organisations worldwide were currently working with local authorities to provide such physical obstacles as well as lend emotional support to those in need. Befrienders were carefully selected and specially trained, and given a lot of support to help potential suicide cases, she said. “We don’t take their sense of responsibility from them,” said Try. “What we do is give them someone to talk to who won’t judge them or tell them what to do. “What often happens is that we help them get back their responsibilities.”
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Suicide is a myth and excuse for vicious societies who want to kill ‘unwanted’ citizens nominally backed by a self serving/self-glorifying, pro-big society/pro-‘big-brother’ (big bully actually) psychiatric establishment intent on playing god and enforcing conformity via technofascist methods. Same with the excuse by the plutocracy and political oligarchy who create conditions of sequestered wealth, lack of educational opportunities, an educational system that enforces conformity via rote learning that prevents the critical thinking and creative from progressing in society.
Society’s own pathological viciousness created by the laws and constitutions that fail citizens, create conditions for harmful conditions that lead to suicide are the problem. Good on the mention of individuality in this article, not so good on the lack of attention to the whys and hows that cause suicide.
If there were Socialist limits on wealth, free education there would be no homelessness, unnecessary competition or competition for educational spaces, and this would not drive prices up so that in order to edge out ‘others’, people would not be persecuted by a narrow minded few to the point of suicide. Mob mentality and the desire to enforce conformity via ‘social norms’, disregard for ‘negative freedoms’ (like disallowing adult industry or gambling venues) and practicioners of fundamentalist faiths, apartheid and even politicians who write loopholes (filibusters) into laws for procurement collusion and corruption, any who accept corruption are the root cause of ‘suicide’ which when viewed from the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” narrow lens, normalises the problem of illegal enforcement of conformity without addressing and disregard the root causes.