SUICIDE kills more people than road traffic accidents across Warwickshire and Coventry – prompting a Rugby charity worker to open up about his attempt to take his own life.
New figures from Public Health England show that 175 people committed suicide in Warwickshire between 2013 and 2015.
Lee Watts, who works for mental health charity Coventry and Warwickshire Mind, has talked about his experience ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday (September 10).
Lee, 27, who tried to kill himself four years ago, says help is at hand for anyone feeling suicidal.
He said: “I had not long left college, been let out into the real world, and was looking for a job but was unable to find one. There had also been a few deaths in the family which didn’t help my feelings of isolation, loneliness and desperation.
“I felt desperately low and tried to take my own life in October 2013 because I saw no other option and no other way to turn.”
Lee immediately told his mum and went on to get help through a GP and counselling.
He then began attending the Rugby Wellbeing Hub in Cromwell Road, one of several in the area run by Mind, which offers free drop-in support services.
Now physically healthier than he has ever been, he now works as a Peer Support Worker at the Hub and is due to start a degree in counselling.
He said: “The Wellbeing Hub helped because I was around other people like me, and I knew I wasn’t alone. It helped me grow in confidence.
“The person I am now is very different to who I was then. My message to anyone feeling the same as I did is this: don’t bottle it up, talk to someone about it. Let it all out – help is out there.”
Kay St Clair, Coventry and Warwickshire Mind’s chief executive officer, said: “We are proud of Lee for sharing his experience and are delighted that he has joined us in working for the charity as we strive to ensure no one feels they have to face a mental health problem alone, because one suicide is one too many.”
Lee has produced a series of online videos at http://bit.ly/2eL7OHt which detail the thoughts of his friends and family as they reflect on his suicide attempt and subsequent transformation.
Coventry and Warwickshire Mind is a partner in the It Takes Balls to Talk campaign, which raises awareness at sports events across the region to get men in particular talking about mental health – as suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 across the UK.
Visit www.cwmind.org.uk or www.ittakesballstotalk.com for more information.
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