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Encouraging Hope – a personal reflection

How do we encourage hope at a time when the tragedy of the war in Ukraine is so much on the news and in our thoughts? We are increasingly aware too of the impact of climate change, particularly in poorer nations. The extent of fuel poverty in the UK is rapidly becoming apparent.  For very many people, hope maybe a concept that is hard to contemplate.

One of the aims of Jonathan’s Voice is reducing the incidence of suicide. Hope is not a word that would come to mind when thinking about suicide. And yet the theme of 2021 World Suicide Prevention Day was ‘Creating hope through action’  our previous blog.  

The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) curated many inspiring stories about how and where people had found hope in their darkest times. https://jonathansvoice.org.uk/world-suicide-prevention-day-2021 . Jonathan’s Voice part funds research at the Suicidal Behavioural Laboratory at the University of Glasgow which is undertaking invaluable research into the causes of suicide in men and preventative and protective measures. https://jonathansvoice.org.uk/world-suicide-prevention-day-2021

 On a personal level, I have found myself wondering how I can keep hope and how can I help others to as well. Maybe we should look to nature. The weather is turning more Spring like and the clocks, having gone forward an hour, can give us great opportunities to get outside. This maybe just to sit in the garden and enjoy the birdsong or like me putting on running shoes. Research by the World Wildlife Fund and the Mental Health Foundation recognised the importance of our natural environment for our mental health and wellbeing. They have produced a very helpful  guide linked to the seasons, which gives the reader things to do and think about.

We can also support people to be more hopeful by engaging them in conversation and listening to them. This could be with someone you know or a stranger. Striking up a conversation can be hard, especially with all the technology and access to the media that we have at our fingertips. As a result, we can be pulled into thinking just about the news and not also looking at and engaging with the people around us. Maybe if we did more of this we would all have a greater sense of hope.

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