A letter to fellow benefit claimants who feel suicidal

Last week I spoke out about being asked why I hadn’t killed myself in a benefits assessment, and since then hundreds of people have shared their stories with me.

For many of you, your experiences with the benefits system has affected your mental health to such a degree it has caused you to feel suicidal. I want you to know that this is nothing to be ashamed of, it is something I am going through too. And we are not alone in this, people across the country are struggling in the same way and for the same reasons.

Under this government the welfare state has become abusive. It makes us believe things about ourselves which simply are not true, you are worth so much more than you are being made to feel.

You are not a burden on society, far from it, you are a gift. Your life holds value and meaning, regardless of whether you can work or not.

Your contribution to society is not only valid, it is necessary. You have a purpose, despite what you may have been told.

You are worthy of life and the life you are living right now matters. You have a right to be here.

And remember, you are equal to everyone else.

When you are feeling a complete sense of hopelessness suicide can often feel like the only option, but it is not. You deserve to find happiness and you will find it, even if that feels impossible right now.

Feeling suicidal does not mean we are weak, and it is not wrong for us to feel the way we are feeling, but it is also something which we should not experience alone.

Talk to someone you trust and tell them what you are going through. People care about you and will want to support you, please let them.

If you need support with suicidal thoughts, contact The Samaritans or speak to your GP.

If you feel your life is in danger, call or text 999. You do not have to be alone with that danger.

Citizens Advice can provide information and advice on benefits, to find your local centre click here.

This system has been built to break us, but we must not let it. I truly believe we can channel our pain into passion and use it to create change. Let’s do that together?