Last Wednesday (28 March 2018), ITV Border interviewed John Brown of SOBS Cumbria during a campaign to raise awareness for male suicide. The campaign, named Project 84, is being lead by CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), and aims to raise awareness for suicide.
Below, you can find the transcript for ITV's interview with John.
Interviewer: John, thank you so much for coming in. How far do you think those 84 sculptures can go in changing attitudes towards male suicide?
John: I think they can make an enormous difference, you know, at the end of the day people have been talking to me about it already who wouldn’t think about it in the normal run of events. So it’s definitely already raising awareness and bringing to the fore a topic that is normally very much hidden.
Interviewer: Why is male suicide such a difficult issue to tackle?
John: I think at the end of the day men typically tend to think that they have to cope and be seen to cope and if issues arise they’ll tend to kind of push it down and just manage it rather than actually talking about it and expressing their concern. I think women are much better at talking about how they feel than men are.
Interviewer: Now in both Cumbria and southern Scotland suicides rates are higher than the national average, what are the particular issues that we do face in our region?
John: I think we have, you know, we’ve got rural isolation, very dispersed areas, we don’t have services concentrated in the way they are in towns, but at the end of the day - we don’t know, is the truth.
Interviewer: So given what you’ve just said, if somebody finds themselves in that terrible position of losing a loved one to suicide, what guidance can you offer?
John: I think the crucial thing is to talk about it, is to ask for help. Our organisation supports people who’ve been bereaved by suicide, so you are talking to people who have lost people. Because the problem with suicide is, it’s something that nobody ever expects to happen to them and of course when it does they’re utterly traumatised, their world is turned upside down and the instinct is to feel kind of shame or stigma and kind of hide it rather than necessarily seek help.
Interviewer: So, what do you personally hope can come out of Project 84? Helping us all to think more openly about suicide.
John: I think there’s two things, I think one is from the government point of view, getting them to really kind of grasp the nettle with this and funding, real funding for mental health services, and I’m thinking of CAMHS in particular, support for mental health for young people, very long waiting lists. And on the other side for us individuals is reflective listening, listening to the message people give us and, if we have a concern about them, asking them if they’re ok and not being afraid to do that and to encourage them to seek help, or indeed, seek it for them if there is a real immediate risk.
Interviewer: John Brown thank you very much indeed for your thoughts and thank you for coming into the studio.
John: That’s no problem and thank you.
This video is courtesy of ITV Lookaround.