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Suicide Prevention – Be the Firestarter

| By: Dr Robert Stevens
Suicide Prevention – Be the Firestarter

Keith Flint from The Prodigy tragically took his own life a few days ago.  He achieved his 5K PB at the Chelmsford Central park run only two days before.

We all talk about the importance of raising awareness of mental health issues and we are all advised to look out for the typical warning signs:-

  • Sleep or Appetite Changes

Dramatic sleep and appetite changes, or a decline in personal care.

  • Mood Changes

Rapid or dramatic shifts in emotions or depressed feelings.

  • Withdrawal

Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities once previously enjoyed.

  • Drop in Functioning

An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty in performing familiar tasks.

  • Problems Thinking

Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain.

  • Increased Sensitivity

Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations.

  • Apathy

Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity.

  • Feeling Disconnected

A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality.

  • Illogical Thinking

Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult.

  • Nervousness

Fear or suspiciousness of others, or a strong nervous feeling.

  • Unusual Behaviour

Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behaviour.

All very valuable and real signs, but these signs are not exclusive.  Often when loved ones, friends or colleagues look back on the events preceding the suicide, they often comment that the person seemed uncharacteristically happy and content.  They have often mended bridges, resolved ongoing conflicts and placed their affairs in order.

Their decision to end their own life has given them a peace that they cannot find in life.  A knee-jerk reaction from the uneducated is that their act is selfish.  Please imagine for one second how dark a place you must be in to commit suicide.  To defy one’s biological imperative, to live, to believe that the world, your family and friends whom you love, would be better off without you.

I don’t know what the answer is.  Love cures all, well, no, apparently not.  Humanity is the quality of being humane; benevolent, the more we understand, the more we should realise that this should apply to everyone and everything.

What a peculiar and perverse world we live in, the further we travel from nature, the worse our physical and psychological health.

The internet has blown up with “What can we do?” esq posts such as ‪#‎firestarter4number1.  They are holding a rave in Keith’s honour, proceeds will be donated to Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), the same charity that we are supporting with our #ChooseTRT campaign.  My immediate reaction was “I’m there!”, my next reaction was “WTF!”.  A rave to celebrate the life of Keith Flint.  I am only speculating, but I don’t think it’s a giant leap to appreciate that prolific recreational drug use most likely contributed to his mental health problems and subsequent demise.

I am an ex-raver.  I have no regrets.  When you experience the ecstasy of MDMA, the gigantic leap from normality to pure unadulterated ecstasy that is finite, normality no longer seems enough.  The massive serotonin and dopamine dump has to be replenished, something that takes an increasing amount of time the more you become familiar with the sublime state of higher consciousness, that is ecstasy.  The resultant hormonal deficiency no doubt has a long-term detrimental effect on your brain chemistry and psychological health.

The anarchic and anti-establishment mantra of The Prodigy is something to hold onto.  The association of raves with ecstasy that undoubtedly has a negative long-term impact on mental health is not.  There’s a very deep and dark issue with our modern society that will not be cured by a rave in Keith’s honour, unless you can remove drugs from the event and make it about a shift in thinking.  Modern society is poisonous, money is poison.  There is no place for humanity in this modern world.

We need to talk about mental health, we don’t need to self-destruct.  I think Keith achieving his 5K PB in his last ever park run was a message to us all.  A message lost in translation due to his past.  Surely we should be concentrating on physical and psychological health, looking to build bridges, mend fences, build from strong foundations.  We need to realise the perversity of this civilised world and stand together against its evil machinations.

Stand up, fight, but FFS don’t self-destruct, it’s exactly what they want you to do.  Kindness, togetherness, unity is not good for business.  The individual is no more important than the collective.  Hold out your hand for someone in need to clasp it tightly, don’t withdraw to protect yourself, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

My concern is, people will happily share a “If you think mental health is important” esq post and believe this will affect an actual change, they are truly deluded.  We live in a very fickle, superficial society where self is our number one priority.  “Hey everyone, let’s raise awareness”, it’s a joke.  What we need is affirmative action, we don’t need the government to launch a suicide prevention initiative, we need the government to realise that there is something fundamentally wrong with society.  The problem is, there is way too much money invested in this ‘progressive’ society that encourages self.

We have lost our sense of personal responsibility, we don’t even understand it or appreciate its importance.  We all seek inner peace, yet we will never achieve true peace because we are led to believe that acceptance is weakness and vulnerability.  We need to start from the ground upwards.  Much like when Lydia and I opened the clinic, we can affect a positive change to society with strong foundations.  A mighty oak grows from a small acorn.  We can do this, start small, let someone out from a busy junction, offer a hand to someone who is struggling, it’s not that difficult.  Don’t listen to the naysayers, follow your heart because your inner peace is my inner piece.  We are a collective, the sooner you realise that the sooner you will find the path.  Your journey is your journey, make it worthwhile, your past is your past, today is the day to be the person you want to be, let the fire burn bright, be the Firestarter.

Peace out Keith, your death will hopefully serve to inspire, not to segregate.


Dr Robert Stevens MBChB MRCGP Dip.FIPT