Here at bbd we are always keen to support causes close to our heart. Dave’s story, shared to us by Freddie – our BU intern, was so heartwarming we had to share it.
IN MEMORY OF DAVE
Globally, on average, a man takes his own life every minute of every day.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50 and there were 4,903 registered in 2018 – the highest rate in 13 years.
No amount of statistics, however, can portray the devastation that suicide causes and, earlier this year, I was unfortunate enough to see first-hand just how destroying it can be.
In February, my close friend’s dad lost his lengthy battle with depression.
Dave was just 47 years old.
It’s always a cliché but he never seemed like the man who would take his own life. He’d made a great living working at our big local company and whenever you saw him he always greeted you with a smile and a chat. A real genuine kind-hearted bloke who cared for his family and never had a bad word to say about anyone.
He lived a comfortable life with his devoted wife, two amazing boys (my close friend Billy who was 19 at the time and his brother Joe who was 16) and lovable cocker spaniel, Milo.
Which makes his death on February 13th 2019 all the more heart-breaking.
When Dave was young, his father took his own life which, of course, had a lasting psychological effect on him. He had lived with depression a couple times in his life but had always managed to stay on top of it through the support of his family.
Just before Dave died, he was working a lot of consecutive night shifts, seeing minimal amount of daylight.
With little communication with people, things got on top of Dave with catastrophic results.
In the wake of such tragic events, of course you take time to mourn. Having lived in our local area his whole life, Dave’s death wreaked devastation across the whole community.
But whilst everyone took the time to remember his dad, Billy took the opportunity to raise awareness for others. Within a week of Dave’s death, Billy had raised an incredible £8,000 for CALM – a mental health charity who do amazing work in suicide prevention.
The total now stands at £14,000.
In a moment when most people would just want to curl up into a little ball and let the pain swallow them up, Billy turned his grief into genuine positive change and I can’t express how proud I am of him for this. He is a credit to his dad.
Alongside Billy, our whole community is determined to ensure that Dave’s death acts a wake-up call to the importance of mental health. To stop people suffering in silence.
We all need to learn from this awful experience and that’s why I’ve decided to write this blog – to try and raise a small amount of awareness for a big issue in modern society.
In memory of the wonderful man that Dave was.
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE
There is usually no single reason for why someone might take their own life. More than half of all people that take their own life have a known mental illness at the time of their death.
For others, the feeling of helplessness comes from other external factors.
One of the most cited external factors is a person’s job.
According to research from the Healthline, people who have just lost their job or have a low overall job satisfaction are at higher risk of suicide.
Which is why it’s so important to find an occupation that you love.
So, find something that drives your passions. A job that makes you want to get up in the mornings. Something that you genuinely enjoy doing.
Of course, this is a very naïve thing to say. People have bills to pay and sometimes you have no other options. Sometimes you will just have to just keep your head down and grind out your days to try and work your way up the ladder. Everyone will have days or weeks where everything seems to be going wrong – times when you’ll start to question yourself and if this job is really for you.
This is where the having a strong support network around you is crucial.
The importance of talking cannot be understated.
Everyone needs that that person you can vent to about how sh*t your day was. That person you can tell about your unsupportive manager or Janet from accounts who will not stop yapping all day long!
It’s so easy to walk away from a horrible day, put on a fake smile and say everything’s fine.
It’s okay to tell people you had a bad day. You’ll feel so much better for it.
At bbd this year, I’ve had times where I have felt down about my job. Times where things weren’t really going as I wanted them to and I found myself frustrated and upset.
However, the support that bbd offer to ensure that these frustrations are short-lived are amazing. On a weekly basis, everyone in the office fills in a mini-appraisal that goes directly to their line managers. This is a chance to be honest about how you’re feeling that week and what you’re finding difficult.
I also have a catch-up meeting every week with my line manager where we talk about these concerns.
This has helped so much with my maintaining a strong frame of mind and made for a much happier work life.
If you are able to develop this type of working relationship, you’ll feel so much better for it.
MENS MENTAL HEALTH
The statistics at the beginning of this article don’t lie. Men year after year are finding themselves with nowhere and no one to turn to. In the UK, men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women.
But why is this? Why are men consistently taking their own lives?
The answer lies in societal pressures of what it means to be man.
As a guy, you are expected to go out, secure the top job, find the beautiful girl, drive the expensive cars whilst maintaining a ‘masculinity’.
We are taught that being a man means to supress our emotions and remain ‘strong’ in every situation. To ‘man up’ and not show weakness.
These toxic messages are engrained in us from childhood and can have extremely damaging effects.
According to research from MentalHealth.org, trying to conform to this gender role of self-reliance, dominance and control can have a serious detrimental effect on mental health.
It’s time for this to stop.
Gents, speaking out and asking for help makes you no less of a man – it takes courage to show pain and vulnerability.
It’s time to move past stereotypes and start being more open about our mental health.
That’s why this year, bbd are raising money for Movember and the amazing suicide prevention work that they do. By 2030, they’re aiming to reduce the rate of male suicide by 25% and are working with a number of partners focusing on prevention, early intervention and health promotion.
You can read more about the brilliant work they do here – https://uk.movember.com/about/mental-health
And if you are feeling generous then please donate to our Movember page, your support would be massively appreciated – https://moteam.co/bbd-bros?mc=1
Myself, Billy and my mum have set up a football team in memory of Dave called DC United. The team’s aim is to give lads in the local community an opportunity to come together and support each other through football.
There’s already been a marked improvement in some of the lad’s mental wellbeing and we’ve just won our 10th game on the bounce – so far so good!
We have also been nominated for a competition called Local Legends – more info here: http://www.hampshirefa.com/about/partnerships/local-legends
It would be massively appreciated if you could vote for us in the Twitter poll below:
Thanks and I hope you enjoyed the blog!