Take the Time to Talk This World Suicide Prevention Day
It’s World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September. Organisations and communities come together to raise awareness of how we can prevent suicide. Each year there’s a theme, and this year’s theme is ‘working together to prevent suicide.’
According to the Samaritans, more than 6000 people died of suicide in 2017 in the UK and Ireland alone. Every person was someone’s friend, family member, or colleague, and their suicide will have left an unimaginable impact on those left behind.
How many times have you heard of someone committing suicide, and people have said things like ‘I had no idea they were depressed,’ or ‘they had a great life, what did they have to be sad about?’
Lives could be saved if more of us learned how to talk about suicide. Talking removes the stigma and makes people who are suffering with suicidal thoughts realise that it’s okay to not be okay.
We all have busy lives, but it’s about taking the time to notice when your colleague seems different, a friend keeps cancelling plans, or a loved one starts becoming withdrawn. We would all like to think that someone is looking out for us and that they would do what they could to help, even if it’s something as simple as asking us if we’re really okay.
How we can prevent suicide
Talk about it
The worst thing for many people who are suicidal is that they feel like they are dealing with everything alone. They can often feel too ashamed to talk about how they are feeling and think that no one else will understand. If you’re worried about someone, talk to them. They might not want to share anything at all, but just letting them know you’re there can be enough. Tell them that it’s not hopeless and that there are plenty of sources of help. They need to feel comfortable enough to seek, and get, the right support.
It’s a misconception that talking to someone about suicide will make them do it or give them ideas; on the contrary, they’re more likely to be relieved that they can share the burden.
Know the warning signs
They don’t necessarily apply to everyone, but there are some warning signs to look out for that usually mean someone is struggling. Once we know the signs, we can assist them to get the help they need more quickly. Look out for:
Withdrawing from others
Feelings of self-loathing
Feeling like they’re disconnected from others
Feeling that they’re a burden
Losing interest in things they usually enjoy
Drinking more or taking drugs
Having suicidal thoughts, making plans, or actually attempting to harm themselves
Suddenly being in a better mood-this can indicate that they’re feeling some sort of relief from deciding to go ahead with their plans.
Know how to get help
If you or someone you’re worried about is feeling suicidal, it’s important to know that there are plenty of sources of information, help, and support*
Samaritans: call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For information, you can get in touch with:
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day or you can visit their webchat page
Papyrus: for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 5pm, text 07786 209697, or email email@example.com
Childline: for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111
Talk to someone you know
Talk to a trusted friend or family member who might be able to support you and help keep you safe.
Other sources of support
MindfulWOMEN – Hull – https://www.facebook.com/groups/442201532823567/
MindfulMEN – Hull – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1517006371663515/
Your GP: ask for an emergency appointment or call 111 if it’s out of hours. You can also try your local mental health crisis team.
* If your life, or someone else’s life is in danger, call 999 or go to your nearest A&E.
Increase your own awareness of mental health
As well as talking about it, the other key to preventing suicide is to increase our awareness around it. A great course to do to increase your knowledge of mental health conditions, and how to offer someone support is Mental Health First Aid. You can find more information on the course here.
The more we know, the more we understand, and who knows, one day, we might just be in the position to save a life.