ON SUICIDE PREVENTION.
Reach out, listen, seek help...
Suicide is on the rise, and it is devastating. As one of the leading causes of death among the younger population and in the world today, we must be more intentional in creating hope through our actions.
Taking time to reach out to someone in your community A family member, friend, colleague or even a stranger Could change the course of another's life.
You can help give someone hope by showing that you care. All of us can play a role, no matter how small. We may never know what we do that makes a difference. We all can reach in and ask somebody. You do not need to tell them what to do or have solutions, but simply making the time and space to listen to someone about their experiences of distress or suicidal thoughts can help. Small talk can save lives and create a sense of connection and hope in somebody who may be struggling.
How can you do that?
Look out for those who are not coping.
Warning signs of suicide include hopelessness, rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge, acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking, feeling trapped like there’s no way out, increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawing from friends, family & society, anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time and dramatic mood changes.
You don’t need to have all the answers.
People are often reluctant to intervene, for many reasons, including a fear of not knowing what to say. It is important to remember, that there is no specific formula. Individuals in distress are often not looking for specific advice. Empathy, compassion, genuine concern, knowledge of resources and a desire to help are key to preventing a tragedy.
Individuals who have survived a suicide attempt have much to teach us about how the words and actions of others can be important, and those who have come through an episode of severe suicidal thinking often say that they were not looking for specific advice, but that compassion and empathy from others helped to turn things around for them and point them towards recovery.
Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are suicidal.
Another factor that prevents individuals from intervening is the worry of making the situation worse. This hesitance is understandable as suicide is a difficult issue to address, accompanied by a myth that suggests talking about it may instigate vulnerable individuals to contemplate the idea or trigger the act. Evidence suggests that this is not the case. The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress, as opposed to exacerbating it.
The listening ear of someone with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgement can help restore hope. We can check in with them, ask them how they are doing and encourage them to tell their story. This small gesture goes a long way.
Every action can connect someone to life and the help they want. To prevent suicide requires us to become a beacon of light to those in pain.
Resources are available
Many reputable resources are available to assist people in reaching out to individuals at risk of suicide, examples include:
This campaign is about giving people the confidence to have the conversation by connecting them with resources to support them. The take-home message is that you don’t have to be a clinician, GP or nurse to check in with the person with whom you are concerned.
• Members or groups in your community
• Work colleagues
• Suicide prevention organisations
This conversation movement endeavours to inspire others to help break the silence and ask ‘are you ok?’ to support someone struggling with some simple steps that could change a life.
Take 5 to Save Lives
This campaign encourages everyone to take 5 minutes out of their day and complete five action items:
1. Learn the warning signs
2. Do your part
3. Practise self-care
4. Reach out
5. Spread the word
Be the One to Help Save A life
2. Be There
3. Keep Them Safe
4. Help Them Connect
5. Follow up
Know the Signs
1. Know the signs
2. Find the words
3. Reach out
Other relevant resources can be found on the websites of the:
• International Association for Suicide Prevention
• World Health Organization
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