Sunday, 1 May 2016

Paul's natural flair and supportive nature helps the despairing and addicted this week.

In the latest instalment of “ The Salvation Army  and Me” Paul  goes to visit Cambria House again. The all male Life House is where David has been resident for seven months. A former pub landlord whose depression had pushed him to the point of attempting to end his own life, David  was in a self confessed Dark Lonely Place. He had no outlet to express his despair, his friends were in -equipped  to deal with his problems as the stigma of depression and other mental illnesses is a lot to bypass particularly by men. He bottled it up and convinced himself he could manage alone.

Paul surmises correctly that he needed  a friend, someone to confide in.

To move forward in his recovery, David is going to share his story. 

Paul  himself has known his own despair and trouble, repeated heart attacks and his partner passing away. He dealt with through the medium of his alter ego, Lily Savage. Through her mouth as his conduit, he could express his anger and anguish through the medium of  humour, so he is perfectly placed and gifted to help David present his story comedically.

The House of St Barnabus  in Soho in London is the scene of David's first stand up , stood in the beautiful chapel it is movingly 9 months to the day that a priest said he might not make it through the night.  He is resplendent in pink and although he is a little hesitant and obviously nervous, his short stint is moving and inspirational.

The Salvation Army were the first organisation in the world to begin Suicide prevention programmes. 

Patients  released from Broadmoor psychiatric hospital were given retreat and rehabilitation  at Hadleigh Farm  in Essex.  The Salvation Army has been a part of the Hadleigh community since 1890. For 122 years, Hadleigh Farm, and later Hadleigh Training Centre, has been a place where The Salvation Army has trained, helped and educated men and women who have experienced difficult times, enabling them to further themselves both personally and professionally.
(Broadmoor's History is very rich and I strongly reccomend the research and writing of Kate Tyte for further research.)

Not much has changed since those days, Mental disorders (particularly depression, substance abuse, schizophrenia and personality disorders) are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide. There are also certain groups of people who are at particular risk of suicidal behaviour. These include those with a past history of attempted suicide, those with alcohol and other substance dependencies, young males, the elderly, the bereaved, indigenous groups, those with sexual identity conflicts, migrants, those living in rural areas, those in prison custody, and those with debilitating physical illness.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that more than 800,000 people die from suicide each year, which is one death for every 40 seconds. 

In the past 45 years, suicide rates have increased 60% worldwide. In most countries, suicide predominates in males (with some significant exceptions such as China). Suicide is among the top ten causes of death in every country, 75% of suicides in Britain are by men. Suicide is one of the three leading causes death in the 15 - 30 year age group.

Paul returns to his Merseyside roots and meets with some women addicts who are  in a female life house, homeless but also struggling to kick heroin habits . He is particularly there to help  Joanne, a lady in her mid forties, whose addiction brought her so low that she lost family and friends 
 It  is telling and so painfully sad that her bid to enter a professional Detox programme is so that she might get to spend Christmas with her  mother and be able eventually able to get a flat so that she  might have her own kettle and have a brew within her own four walls. With Paul’s support Jo gets a place in the rehab programme and I pray she has total and irreversible success.

If you have read each of the blogs on the series, you will know that Paul has had a dream since childhood to play with a Salvation Army Band and so he gets some more practice with them. He has been anxious about leading them out with the large Bass Drum so is given a side drum to play with and in a surreal moment is told to be more Flamboyant!

I await the last episode with great enthusiasm and a fervent prayer that Paul does indeed get to play his drum down Oxford Street in his bespoke Uniform and with his flamboyant side drum.


  1. Thank you for another excellent article in this series. Tragic on the number of deaths due to depression. I appreciate this article of yours shedding a need light on this subject.

  2. Very moving tale and those posters are incredibly powerful. Especially the one that uses the Bard's phrase. Great piece Emma!!

    1. I love using old brochures and Artwork!

  3. Another very uplifting essay on the Sally Army -- I had no idea they were the first group to address suicide prevention!
    Dave & JoAnn are brave, trying to get well under very very rough circumstances.
    I really enjoy reading these, Emma!!

    1. I have the highest respect for them as an organisation and may even be considering a visit to my local citadel to see how I can be a volunteer.