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Dear Mike, (name unknown, a real person though…)

Time to Read:  What does it matter?

Dear Mike, (name unknown, a real person though…)


You were the cause of my frustration at Waterloo station

It was a Friday afternoon, 4.30pm and the trains were delayed or cancelled

Surrounded by many angry, tired and despondent people, I stared up at the screens looking for a train – any train, that will take me home, or near to home.

To be fair, the announcements were repeated every 5 minutes, and the same message displayed around the station – the disruption was caused by an incident between Waterloo and Clapham, and emergency services are on the scene.

And that ‘incident’ was you.

I remember overhearing someone say to their friend say “honestly, how selfish”.

And I immediately agreed with them.

You caused distress for a train driver, for medics and many other people.

And then I had another thought.

Although we had never met, I thought about you.

I have no idea what made you do it. What despair you had in your life that would be so deep that it caused you to make the fateful choice that you did. However, I stopped for a moment.

It was a Friday afternoon, 4.30pm when a human being reached such a low point in their life that they decided to end it. Somebody’s son made the most desperate decision of them all.

I don’t know why and I never will.

You certainly gave me perspective Mike – way beyond ‘no event having any meaning other than the meaning we choose to give it’ (delayed trains or the death of a young man), you brought home an awareness of the frightening number of suicides, there were 6,708 suicides in the UK and ROI in 2013, and the number is similar for 2014 and last year.

Every single day, around 16 people decided to end their own life across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

And on that Friday, at around 4pm, one of them was you

Rest in Peace Mike

Please share your comments


Figures quoted are from The Samaritans,
The Samaritans run an award winning rail industry suicide prevention programme
– to whom we are making a donation –

 If you or anyone else ever feels they want to talk, any time of day Call 116 123 (Free number)  

This blog follows best practice media reporting, as set by The Samaritans.

19 Responses to Dear Mike, (name unknown, a real person though…)

  1. great post David. a recognition of the frighteningly high and growing statistics of mental health issues in the UK particularly amongst men under 30

  2. One of your best articles to date – everyone needs to stop getting frustrated at the small things and put life into perspective, R.I.P. Mike

  3. Thank you David for highlighting your thoughts and those of your fellow passengers.

    Like you, I have no idea what goes on on a person’s head, that so many sadly decide to take their own life. What I do believe is that it takes a huge amount of courage, those that are of a sane mind to do so. Those that are struggling so badly, that they are overwhelmed with the pain they are experiencing, that death is their only answer. I am aware that for some who self harm, the pain of harming is far less than the pain they are feeling at that moment.

    My sense, and this aligns nicely with The Samaritans, is that we are crying out and/or maybe, dying to be heard.

    To be able to sit with another who will listen to you, not fix you, not try to stop your pain, but who simply listens. In doing so I will feel heard, will feel of value, will feel that I matter, for some, maybe for the first time in their lives.

    As the listener, your intention is to listen to understand, to give the speaker your full attention, to not interrupt and not seek to fill the silence in between their words and sentences. When the speaker is given that they will relax, start to see the world differently, and begin to think.

    The challenge is that the majority believe we are good listeners, I believe we are good hearers, and very poor listeners.


  4. Dear David

    A very meaningful thought for the day. Let me put it into another context. How many people are driven to this level of despair after being told that they have lost their job on a friday. In spite of over 25 years in trying to guide people and organisations NOT to dismiss people on a friday, I still hear of situations where this practice is still alive and well and remains in place today. Indeed, not so long ago, one business owner proudly told me that he always dismissed people on a friday, because it enabled him to enjoy closure at the end of the working week. I find myself repeating through gritted teeth, “Honestly…how selfish”, when viewed from the dismissed employee’s perspective.

    • Hi Charles thank you for reading, and commenting, we have had massive feedback on this one. Your perspective re Friday’s is so relevant as well, and I hope people take it on board. David

  5. A tough article to write. With very personal links in my own family across four generations, Naked Leadership and Coaching a light that there is another way, especially if instilled and created at a young age. The Samaritans will always be needed and I fear much more so with a crisis looming in child mental health. It is someone else’s son or daughter …until it’s ours.

    Let us ‘want’ another way.

    • Wow Claire …until it’s ours. I know this one hit you hard and thank you for appreciating how much work went into making sure the words were ‘right’ The Samaritans helped a great deal they are amazing David x

  6. Thank you David and a really good article and something that I can relate to. I actually lost a brother to suicide years ago and the impact that it has on families and communities can be huge. In fact it would have been his birthday today.

    I feel that Child Mental Health awareness needs to be included in schools as part of the national curriculum and that the shocking high mental health statistics reported by different organisations needs to be taken seriously. Your article certainly puts things into perspective.

    I think that organisations like Samaritans and Mind are needed and do a great job. I have also seen that their industry suicide prevention programme is interesting to read as well. I am also working on a project to help people with depression and undertaking some research at present on this.

    Thanks again.

    Rest in peace Mike

  7. The actual thought that so many people are taking their lives in such a way is so sad, and thank you for highlighting.
    Life really does need to be put into perspective and we need to embrace every second.

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