With her shoulder-length pink bob, contagious laughter and Irish braid, it’s hard to imagine Ruth Kenny wanting to sleep and ever wake up.
A former Christchurch social service worker and mother of two say she was overwhelmed last year by incurable anxiety, depression and eating disorders and tried to take her own life.
For more than a year since her darkest day, she has been training to be a coach and is excited about her future.
Kenny said she wanted to share her experience on World Suicide Prevention Day to encourage people with mental illness not to give up on life.
“Just keep going and keep going because it will be fine.
“Now, the idea that I probably wasn’t here last year, and left my family and friends behind, which just breaks my heart … because by someone’s grace I’m here, and I’ve come through it.” ”
He said getting the right help was not always easy, but encouraged people to keep trying.
“Go a little further and keep knocking on doors and keep telling people.”
But Kenny wanted to raise awareness about the lack of mental health care and the urgent need for publicly funded services.
Kenny, 47, experienced severe pain last year, but says she has suffered from anxiety, depression and eating disorders for many years.
He had sought help from his GP about six years ago, but the referral for medication treatment and six consultation sessions did not work.
Kenny says she hid her pain from friends, family and colleagues.
“I loved my job, I was well respected, I came to work every day with a smile. But there was a very different story beneath it.
Successive events in 2020 have made it difficult to cope with its growing anxiety.
A long-awaited trip to Ireland was cut short in March last year after an eight-year absence from the epidemic.
When Kenny returned to work, he had to manage a large number of customers following the government’s decision to house the homeless in motels.
On top of the heavy workload, she was working in isolation from her team due to lockdown rules.
Eventually, at the end of June, he was completely defeated. Instead of going to work, he tried to take his own life.
“All I could think about was melting into the darkness and not feeling anything.”
Kenny remembers waking up in the respite home, where he spent about 12 hours in the emergency department.
She says the services were completely inadequate to help find out the cause of the incident.
She says no one tried to talk to her about what happened at the house for three days.
On her last day, a crisis nurse suggested that she see her GP and a psychiatrist, and said she would be in touch about the outcome of the doctors’ meeting.
The following week, Kenny was told by voicemail that she was being fired from the crisis service.
She returned to work a few weeks later, but was not working with clients.
At her request, her GP referred her to the Health Board Eating Disorders Service and she was accepted into a two-month long weekly group.
Although parts of the course were helpful, Kenny says she was still battling deep anxiety and depression.
His GP told him he did not know what to do to help him, except to prescribe more medication.
A friend who met Kenny at work years ago and was a mental coach who offered to see him, told him Kenny was struggling.
Going to see the woman, Kenny again considered ending his life.
“But he didn’t say anything. Just keep going and go to him.”
He spent three hours with the coach and finally felt “hope and I can do it”.
Kennedy Coaching helped her, and she was able to pay the price, but everyone needed more services.
Greg Hamilton, general manager of Canterbury Health Board’s specialist mental health services, said the individual approach was to care for a person who had attempted suicide.
In general, he said care would include prioritizing fatal injuries, providing a medical diagnosis, planning, and providing information on mental illness and / or addiction management, and available support services. ۔
Where to get help:
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865.
Lifeline: 0800 543 354.
Open the Depression Helpline, 24/7: 0800 111 757.
Wakatau Mai / Welfare Sessions. www.wellbeingsessions.nz
Health Line: 0800 611 116
Youth Line: 0800 376633, free text 234 or email. [email protected]
What’s happening (1-1pm to 11pm for 5-18 year olds): 0800 942 8787
Kids Line (aimed at children up to 14 years of age on weekdays from 4pm to 6pm): 0800 54 37 54
Rainbow Youth (LGBTQ Youth Helpline): (09) 3764155.