The dark side of the Thames

More people commit suicide by jumping into the River Thames than on the London Underground. This is part of the shocking statistics on suicide in the United Kingdom.


According to Transport for London figures 50 people every year commit suicide on the London Underground. However more people, at least one person every week, commits suicide by jumping in the River Thames making this the most popular public method of committing suicide in London. It is unlikely that those who decide to jump off a bridge - with Blackfriars Bridge, Vauxhall Bridge and Waterloo Bridge being the most popular - ever contemplate the reality of their choices and actions.

What happens when you jump into the Thames

Depending on whether the tide is in or out your fall lasts between three and six seconds and you hit the surface of the water at roughly 40-60mph. This is the equivalent of jumping out of a first or second storey window. At low tide you hit 3 metres (24 feet) of water and suffer broken bones and rupturing vital internal organs through colliding with solid objects either submerged beneath the surface or embedded in the clay riverbed. The same is just as likely at high tide where you hit 8 metres (64 feet) of water and get dragged down to the riverbed by either the extremely strong tidal flow or high amounts of turbulence from the many obstructions such as inflows from other rivers or bridge abutments.

This is one of the most dangerous rivers to fall into.

For a start you have the fact that the River Thames takes in a very large amount of water from the North Sea in a very short space of time. The tidal flow in the River Thames moves much faster than most people can run. Then you have the high degree of turbulence from the various obstructions in the river such as bridge abutments and inflows from other rivers such as the Effra, the Fleet, the Westbourne and others. This creates the notorious 'corkscrew' current which drags you down to the riverbed and can spit your body out hours or even days later. Then you have the temperature of the water, believed to be between 8-10 degrees Celsius, because much of the water is sea water from the North Sea, which means that hypothermia can set in within 10-15 minutes, leading to secondary drowning. Then you have the large number of artificial boundaries - walls which extend below and above the surface - which make it impossible for you to climb out if you do decide - as many of those who commit suicide do - to change your mind.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) maintains three lifeboats on the tidal River Thames and these are the busiest lifeboat crews in the whole of the UK and Ireland. Usually RNLI lifeboats are manned by trained volunteers, but the Thames lifeboats are so busy that crews on the lifeboats have to be employed and paid.

This is just a tiny fraction of the daily suicides in the UK

We checked with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and discovered that at least 14 people commit suicide every day, with one child committing suicide every six weeks. For every woman who commits suicide three men commit suicide, and suicides take place across all age groups, but slightly more commit suicide between the ages of 20 and 29 and after 40. The ONS also points out that these are conservatives estimates as it can take years for a coroner to determine a cause of death as suicide, so the figure might be as many as 18 people a day. Please also bear in mind that for every successful suicide attempt there can be as many as 30 failed or attempted suicides.

Maybe talk and counselling isn't enough

Maybe talking and counselling isn't enough to address this disturbing issue - there really does need to be a much greater investment in the development of culture, investment in people, and the creation of new opportunities. We are disturbed not just by the high number of suicides which take place in our communities, but the emphasis many young people seem to place on finding a job, making money or earning money and the pressure which many people are put under to find work, earn money and make money.

There are many people who are doing jobs in which they have no real interest or passion and they have no real interest or passion in what they do because they're working for money and trying to earn a living. Earning a living is no great achievement. Everything which is living earns a living. Trees create carbon out of the air to produce wood, emitting out oxygen to breathe. Even an earthworm or tiny insect such as a bee, which has a millionth of human brain power, earns a living. This is not to state that having an income isn't important in life, but we are raising young people to believe that earning a living is the biggest single thing in their life. Why?

Earning a living - which somehow is a massive issue in our society given the fact that there's fewer and fewer opportunities for work and also for the fact that we have so poorly adapted to the changes brought about by the development of digital technology. In reality this should not be such a massive issue, because in terms of human consciousness there are far more important matters - developing empathy and good mental health being two such examples. We should be spending much more of our time and energy trying to get along with each other, enjoying life, and not getting into situations or circumstances in life where we feel we have nothing to live for. But it appears that the vast amount of human energy and intelligence is now solely devoted to the single track objective of earning a living and making money.

This is what needs to change urgently

This is the root cause of the whole suicide and premature mortality issue which is plaguing so much of not just British society but many other societies as a whole. So much of human energy and consciousness is devoted solely to the focus of earning a living and making money. We're not saying that we should all give up trying to do things which generate an income, or try to do things which we enjoy doing and get paid for doing what we enjoy for other people and the benefit of society as a whole, but what we are saying is that earning a living and making money should not be taking up the entirety of human consciousness and energy to the detriment of everything else.

If you put your finger to earning a living it can do so because it is capable of that. So much of human ingenuity, creativity not to mention a large part of individual human experience is wasted for no other reason that everyone is so narrowly focussed on how to earn a living, how to make money or is asking "Where is the money going to come from?"

What can I do with my life?

This is where the real emphasis in life needs to be placed. Life is not going to last forever. One day you're going to be dead and before that day when you're dead you're probably going to end up incapacitated in some way as bits of your body will become less efficient, or stop working, and you're going to find it much harder to do things.

Before you reach that stage when life becomes more difficult and you're less able to do stuff you need to be figuring out your potential in life figuring out what gives you pleasure and how you can do things you enjoy for the benefit of yourself and other people and going all out for being able to live that life. By the time you hit 50 or 60 you need to be able to tell people your story and have something more to say about yourself than just "I worked throughout my life, never claimed benefits, always paid my taxes." Nobody is going to give a monkey's about how much tax you paid at your funeral. Your life should be much more meaningful and fulfilling than being just a useful footstool for the corporate state system.

If you're not happy with your life then change it

This is your life, nobody else's, and the whole point of you being alive and having a life is so that you can be part of a community and live in the sort of environment where you can be happy, comfortable and actually enjoy life - something which all the miserable people out there who are so focussed on earning a living and making money seem to have forgotten. Due to the fact that so many people are so focussed on making money they have become so wrapped up in themselves and they behave like drama queens at every available opportunity eager to tell you that "I earn my own living." Big deal. So what?

The point here is that you were never born to suffer, to struggle, to experience hardship or to live out your life in endless cycles of fear, depression, anxiety and trauma. You're here to experience life, appreciate the environment, develop empathy with other people and develop your mind and consciousness. What we're advocating to you, and everyone else is that you may need to put some effort into figuring out what your life is really all about and much of that effort means going out and meeting people, having fun, exploring, experimenting, learning and discovering about what life really means to you and what your life is really all about.

This is why we've spent the last 10 years or more developing the Qultura community. We're not interested in your money, your social status or whether or not you earn your own living - what we're interested in is developing empathy, doing stuff in the community and doing things which benefit not just us as individuals but other people as well. You're just a few mouse clicks away from being part of the community, and if you're prepared to share with us the basics of who you are you can be part of the community and registered on our Message Board in no time.

You'll find more information by clicking on any of the links below.


How Qultura works

Qultura is a system for figuring out your Principle and Process - the existential core of your life - through the development of empathy and community. The core principle and philosophy is simple and easy to learn.

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The process of individuation

The development of empathy is fundamental to human evolution. But to be capable of developing empathy you need to take off your societal mask and be real and prepared to live your truth.

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Being part of the Qultura community

The Qultura community has been developed in a way which makes change possible for anyone in society by striking a balance between self and other and also between organization and community.

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