This is a guest post by Emma Kate Ross, an attendee at #OTGSP — our recent event for World Suicide Prevention Day. Emma works for Kelly’s Cause Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting those working within the hospitality industry.
Your comfortable Thursday afternoon, surrounded by your safe, familiar environment is pierced and you tumble down the rabbit hole filled with heroes and pain. We witnessed sacrifice and sadness. We honoured the trauma and triumph.
The event hosted by One Team Gov on World Suicide Prevention Day highlighted the highly stigmatised and ultimately treatable problem suicide has within our society and psyche. It also brought people with lived experiences and campaigners together, with tenderness and respect.
A key thing that stood out to me was suicide doesn’t respect age, nor gender, colour, sexuality, good looks, or huge bank accounts, it is insidious and the wide variety of speakers who chose to share reflected this.
As tough as it was to hear the lived experiences, we paid homage to those who have died by suicide and those who have been left; those who vowed to bring change by reforming legislation, language, and treatment.
Before I found Kelly’s Cause Foundation I had suffered from depression, undiagnosed for many years. Suicide had become my only option it seemed.
I had been abandoned by my mother at 2 and went on to have a very sparse, fractured and painful relationship with her throughout my life; the root of my depression, understandably. Where she failed her in her responsibilities, my Dad excelled and I was raised by a single father in the early 1980’s.
In my 30’s, when my existence made no more sense to me and I struggled to see how I cold go on living, I made a pact. I made a plan. I choose a time. It would be the week after my Dad died. He was, at this stage, a very ill 80 years old, so I did not have long to wait. I knew I couldn’t complete suicide before he died, because my very act would certainly kill him. My Dad, with his already battle-scarred heart, would die of heartbreak.
So I waited and I waited and my Dad’s health improved and seeing the safety of my metaphorical finish line disappearing into the distance, I became even sicker and even more desperate. I broke and I begged for help from a friend who had always been open about her depression, her addiction and her therapy. She got me into therapy, and got me to a place where I could rescue my own life. I am only here because I asked for help and people listened.
Steve Phillips story about his son Jordan, ‘The Day my son took his own life’, resonated so painfully with me, because it was so close to what I can imagine my Dad would have suffered, what my suicide completion would have felt like for him. The strength it took for Steve Phillip to not only survive that, but to launch The Jordan Legacy filled my eyes with tears and filled my heart with hope and love for the fathers out there that do their best, and love their children, every day, even when we do not love ourselves.
Kelly’s Cause Foundation started because the founders’ friend, Kelly completed suicide. Founder Tobie Anna Durk wanted to bring actionable help for poor mental health in the hospitality industry.
This was the perfect fit for me; a chef with a history of depression, but also now with a desire within me to bring change and help others the way I was helped — out of the frying pan and away from the fire.
About Kelly’s Cause
We aim to train people in the hospitality industry to become Mental Health First Aiders; to help people cope with their own stressors and recognise and signpost help to others in stressful times.
We continually work to:
- reduce stigma,
- start conversations,
- deliver MHFA training, and
- promote healthy recovery and a return to maximum mental health and wellbeing.
If we save one life, we will have done what we set out to.
I learnt that during the #OTGSP2020 event over 900 participants logged on, and at least 100 of those were Mental Health First Aiders! This gave me a surge of hope; as I agree with psychotherapist Julia Samuel when she says, “Hope is the alchemy that turns life around”.
Furthermore, we at Kelly’s Cause Foundation agree with MHFA England who believes one in 10 people should have MHFA training.
Our aim is to train one in every 10 people in working in the hospitality industry. We are the UK’s leading MHFA trainer in hospitality offering two-day, one-day and half-day subsidised MHFA England certified courses to people working at all levels within the hospitality industry.
Hopelessness transformed to Hope. Helplessness campaigned into Help.
If you want to find out more about Kelly’s Cause Foundation you can, visit the website:
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