A woman who was saved from a suicide attempt by passing stranger says it’s vital that other people who are at crisis point realise that with the right support, they can recover.
Malan Wilkinson from Caernarfon is marking World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th by urging other people who feel that life isn’t worth living to reach out to people they trust as the first step on the journey to recovery.
“There is no one answer to every crisis,” she explained. “But through the right support and having important conversations people can find answers that help them through adversity and difficult periods in their lives.
“It’s really important that people who are struggling reach out to people they really trust. People need to know that their feelings aren’t just going to go overnight. By taking one step at a time and putting one foot in front of the other they will get there.”
The 32 year old is commenting from a position of lived experience, having found herself in crisis on a number of occasions during her five year battle with mental illness.
In June 2017, she was just seconds away from attempting to end her life, but a passing stranger reached out to her and helped save her life. Malan then spent two months recovering at Ysbyty Gwynedd’s Hergest Psychiatric Unit, in what was her fourth admission to hospital in as many years.
Since then, she has published a book – ‘Rhyddhau’r Cranc’ – in a bid to help others who are struggling with mental ill health. Just weeks after its launch in June, Malan again hit rock bottom, and faced an hour-by-hour battle with suicidal thoughts.
“I was feeling highly strung and there were lots of things going on in my life. One morning it just hit me like a switch going on. I was in an awful place and I didn’t feel as though I was going to live past midday that day.
“But two hours made a whole lot of difference and by the end of that day I had a plan in place with my Community Psychiatric Nurse. I knew that the answer was going to be a long one and one that I would need to invest a lot of myself in.”
Determined not to return to hospital, Malan and her Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) set an ambitious challenge of completing a 100km recovery walk, which she recently surpassed, raising over £600 for the North Wales NHS Charity, Awyr Las’ I CAN mental health campaign.
“It was so difficult because I was in such a bad place. Just doing normal things like brushing my hair and teeth were huge. I’m not somebody who has done exercise regularly and walking 5km at the time just seemed impossible.
“My CPN has been amazing and it scares me to think where I would be without her. She looked at what was important to me and had the creativity to think outside the box, rather than send me into hospital. I’ve really benefitted from this bespoke approach because a one size fits all approach to mental health care simply doesn’t work for everyone.
“At first it was a challenge to get me through the crisis I was in, but it’s served as more than that really. It’s been about sustaining and living a life that I want to live and that I can live. The best thing is it’s changed my mind frame.”
“Looking back to where I was six weeks ago I could never have imagined then that I could get to the point I’m at today.”
· To find out more about the I CAN mental health campaign please visit www.awyrlas.org.uk/ICAN
· To sponsor Malan’s fundraising efforts please visit https://www.justgiving.com/Malan-Wilkinson
· The free and confidential C.A.L.L Mental Health Helpline is available 24/7 to provide emotional support and signposting to local services. Call 0800 132 737, text ‘Help’ to 81066, or visit http://www.callhelpline.org.uk/.
Malan Wilkinson has recently published a book about her struggles with mental illness