After reading last week of the 550 drug related deaths in Scotland in the last 6 months (1st April 2020 – end September 2020), on top of the 1,187 deaths in 2018, putting us on par with US per capita, you could easily get discouraged. Look also at the number of drug related deaths in England and Wales, 4,359 – the highest number since records began – and things aren’t looking any brighter.
Then you look at the number of homeless people recorded dying on streets, or in temporary accommodation which, the Guardian reported last year, has more than doubled over the last five years in the UK. With people found dead in supermarket car parks, church graveyards and crowded hostels, the number of deaths has risen year on year, from 31 in 2013 to 70 in 2017. At least 230 people have died over that period.
Then the alarming number of people experiencing mental illness in the UK is 16 million! Broken down this means one in four people experience a mental health problem every year. The most common mental health condition is anxiety, which affects 5.9 in every 100 people, with those living in low income households being more likely to suffer with mental illness.
The last statistic I want to touch on is that every year around 6,000 people take their own life by suicide across the UK and Ireland. That is an average of 18 suicides a day.
Let’s be real, these numbers are pretty scary. But doesn’t this show us the urgency of our work? We see addictions, homelessness, poor mental health and the related issues as being the primary areas we look to tackle. One person at a time. This is the only way.
We thank God for the many lives we have been able to touch over the past six and a half years and are in no way finished yet! We know there are so many people in our local communities who are struggling with the issues we exist to tackle. Thankfully we have been able to see a number of people coming from dark places in their lives to places of freedom. You can read of some of these stories by visiting our page or you can watch the below video where we see how Colin’s life has been transformed by connecting with God and a number of other organisations who have supported him along the way, each playing their part in building freedom into his life.
As I finish writing this blog, I am just on my way to get ready to attend the funeral of someone we have supported over the years who has just recently died. Sadly, another soul lost.
This is literally a lifesaving work we are involved in. Please join us in building freedom into the lives of those we reach out to, offering hope of recovery and helping us to support people towards a life of true freedom.
This blog post was written by Ricky McAddock, Director and Co-founder of Street Connect.