Quite a big word.  The  Concise English Dictionary says that to be responsible means to be able to discriminate between right and wrong; to be able to act according to the laws; to be respectable; trustworthy; and responsibility is the state of being responsible, as for a person trust etc, etc.

It is a word that is often bandied around, and generally without much thought about meanings. But most of us understand about being responsible.

I have a fifteen year old grandson who stays overnight once a week, mainly to get his internet fix as there isn’t much available on the farm where he lives.

We get him up for school, feed him his breakfast and see that he makes the bus on time.  So that means setting the alarm to get him up, then putting the porridge on in the Thermi and sometimes tag-teaming it with Ross so I can go back to bed.

Last week I dutifully set the alarm as I went to bed, but didn’t have a very good sleep.  In fact I spent quite a few of the wee hours reading.  So when I finally slept, it was very deeply and then the alarm went off.  Groaning and berating myself for being so stupid to leave the alarm set, I rolled over and turned it off then went back to sleep – until five to ten!

I woke and lay there for a few moments and then looked at the clock.  Sh…t!!!  – it all came back to me in a rush.  I remembered turning the alarm off thinking I’d set it by mistake but it was my responsibility to get up, wake up the lad and get him set for the day — his last day of school as it turns out.  He was to go on a fun run and I’d messed it all up.

I felt terrible.  So I was mentally beating myself up for around an hour until I really stopped and thought about it.  Why was I the only one of the three charged with the ‘responsibility’ of getting him off to school?  Surely I wasn’t the sole keeper of the alarm? Ross has an alarm, the almost-sixteen year old certainly has an alarm on the phone that I’m sure is well within reach of his lanky arm.  So why was I the villain of the piece?  Why was it my sole responsibility?   He duly reported to his mother that “Nobody woke me up!”  to which she replied “You have an alarm and are old enough to get yourself up, it’s not anyone else’s responsibility!”

Now whilst that made me feel marginally better, I still feel I let him down.  But I’m working on getting over it.

So in reality, that is just a small thing compared to some of the responsibility we are all charged with on a daily basis.  Something that I believe we all have a responsibility for is caring for others.  Especially when it comes to preventing suicide.

If everyone took a small part in being responsible for suicide prevention, then surely there would be less suicides?  If we all are on the look out for our family and friends welfare, picking up on signs that all is not well in someones world,  then stepping up and asking if they are feeling okay.  Then we could reduce the number of families suffering with the loss of a loved one to suicide.

In ‘Coping With Suicide’ I put a list of what to ask and what not to ask as a guideline, as well as many of the signs of potential suicide.  There are also many websites dedicated to the subject, discussing signs and symptoms at length for anyone to read.  Then where to go to get help.

Also the Salvation Army’s Hope For Life has an online program called QPR – Question, Persuade and Refer, which is easy to do and for only a small fee.

So I believe that we as a society all have a responsibility in regard to suicide prevention.  What are you going to do about it?



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