Sarah talks candidly ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday, September 10
A young woman who made several serious attempts on her life has paid tribute to a Northampton charity for giving her “meaning and hope”.
Speaking ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day which is on Saturday, September 10, Sarah Coulthard-Evans wants to show others it is possible to look to the future after she was treated at St Andrew’s Healthcare.
The 38 year-old was a patient at the Billing Road hospital a few years ago, when she was admitted to continue her trauma therapy and recovery after a particularly upsetting incident.
She said: “After a number of attempts I can remember waking up afterwards and feeling numb. Soon the guilt kicked in for what I had put my loved ones through. During an impulsive moment I hurt myself further and I was not expected to live.”
Sarah incurred severe burns across her body and spent many months in extreme pain. Whilst at St Andrew’s Healthcare, she received intensive psychological and trauma therapy.
She added: “Not a day goes by when I don’t think about how close I came to losing my life back then. But, I’m so very grateful that I’m still here, living my life. It was a slow journey for me, and at times painful and raw, but St Andrew’s Healthcare helped towards piecing me back together. The staff there made me realise the small beauty there is in everyday life.
“I want to be here. My life has meaning. I have hope for my future. And I really want anyone out there, who right now feels helpless and desperate, I’ve been there. I understand. Please, please, talk to someone and ask for help because there really is a light at the end of your dark tunnel.
“As for the wider community, we all have an important role to play within this controversial topic too. At the moment I think many people think of suicide as being ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, but the truth of the matter is suicide is just ‘sad’. We may never know what is going on inside someone’s, so my advice is to show everyone compassion and kindness, no matter what.”
World Suicide Prevention Day occurs every year and was created to raise awareness of how organisations and communities can come together to create a world where fewer people die by taking their own lives.”
Sarah is now channelling her lived experience into helping others. Earlier this year she took part in the Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASSIST) programme. She is also training to become a Samaritan.
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2020 there were 4,912 suicides registered in England.
St Andrew’s Healthcare’s CEO Dr Vivienne McVey, said: “In recent years we’ve come a long way in terms of discussing mental health, but there is still stigma associated with these issues. This needs to change. People who are having suicidal thoughts need to know that if they speak up, they’re not going to be judged. It’s vital we get better at having these conversations so we can start to make a real impact in driving down these figures of people ending their lives.
“As a charity, St Andrew’s Healthcare is constantly trying to challenge the stigma, educate people and promote greater awareness so more people understand the challenges that those who have mental health issues can sometimes face.
“We’re thrilled that Sarah had such a wonderful experience within our care and it’s wonderfully encouraging to hear how full of hope she is for her future.”