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Abigail has struggled for many years with her mental health. She is currently doing well and studying in Spain, surrounded by sunshine and good friends. Abigail has gained great strength and encouragement from sharing her story and working for a number of causes, including Shona, to promote the power of open and honest conversation.

Here, in honour of World Suicide Prevention Day, she shares some thoughts. (Trigger warning, this posts mentions suicidal thoughts)

For the past couple years I’ve been discussing my mental health journey via social media, it’s been a great release for me and a wonderful form of therapy in many ways. It usually takes me a few months to come to terms with writing a blog/article about my journey, a lot of the things I write about are really hard to relive and it takes a lot of energy to remember it all again.

I’ve come to a stage in my life where I’m truly happy about who I am as a person. Seeing all the posts of World Suicide Prevention made me want to share a post about this but I knew I had to take my time with it. When I was around 17, suicide seemed like an inevitable outcome for me, I knew it would happen. I spent days and nights researching ways that would be easiest and if things ever went wrong with school or friends I always thought “it doesn’t matter as I’m going to end it all anyways”. My parents would never let me be alone in my room by myself and one day I noticed the key to my room was missing.

It was the worst period of my life to date, and looking back, I cannot believe I got through it.

Having people around you who are willing to listen is so important but I think a lot of people need to understand that mental health difficulties that may lead a person to this dark stage are in fact illnesses, and need to be treated accordingly. I’m so grateful that I had people in my life who allowed me and advised me to get help.

Without the help I received I probably would not have made it past 18. Checking up on your friends is so important, but becoming a type of person that doesn’t shy away from these difficult and sometimes uncomfortable conversations can help a lot as well. We need to normalise these conversations so others can feel at ease when asking for help.

I urge you all to make it your business to become a person who isn’t afraid of these conversations, we need year round support, not just one day or week dedicated to mental health awareness, it is always necessary and will always help to make a difference.

If you, or someone you know would like to seek some help, there are some amazing resources here. There is always hope for a new and brighter day. x