Suicide Prevention – Giving Hope when it matters

Suicide prevention

“Life isn’t treating me well. There are problems that seem close to impossible to solve! I feel like telling someone is useless! I wish all this to stop and I won’t have to think about everything for one second.”  

This is what may run in a person’s mind when they are suicidal. 

In today’s fast paced world, the numbers of suicide is steadily increasing. According to WHO,  approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide. 

For someone who hasn’t been in this unfortunate place. It gets very difficult for them to understand and empathize with others. Often people get tired of explaining why they feel the way they feel. 

While this might seem like a desperate act to escape from one’s problem, it is simply a huge misconception.

One of the main aspects of suicide which makes it harder for most people to handle is the lack of understanding the state of one’s own or others’ mind. 

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The key concepts suicide prevention and awareness are:

  • Looking at the misconceptions
  • Ways to identify or look at the warnings
  • How to help someone

Here are few common misconceptions of suicide

“One can’t change them.”

This has fallen into a misconception primarily because most people think the person cannot be changed once they make their mind upon ending their lives. In reality, this is nothing but a brutal excuse for not trying to help. A suicidal has a pot of emotions wherein they are not sure what to feel and the impulse is powerful but momentary. All we need to do is help them find a gateway to stay positive.

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“It came from ‘nowhere.”

“Maybe this person was perfectly fine. He laughed, she played, he studied and she even had lots of friends. So why did s/he die?” Well, the fact is that this was a build-up of either a long-time depression that they have tried dealing with. They found it impossible to talk perhaps or they might have tried and failed to get solutions. Most people convey either bluntly or subtlety but they do convey, and often get mistaken for ‘joking.’

“Most people who are suicidal deny help.”

The myth that people who are suicidal don’t seek for help is untrue for a fact. They constantly try to get help through various ways like talking, exhibiting a few ‘out of the usual’ behaviour. Such stigma around mental health, family or peer pressure makes it difficult to convey. 

“Crazy is the word.”

Sadly the truth is they are not insane or crazy. They just feel sad, hopeless and helpless, which is normal. However, the minute these thoughts get overwhelming, they start feeling suffocated, which is when they start behaving differently. We should see them as ‘normal’, and definitely not as a crazy person.

“Talking to them will influence them to do ‘it’.”

Talking to depressed people lead to further damage or give them ideas about suicide is a myth. Talking helps. They could gain clarity from your insight or your ideas of life. They could feel encouraged to live and fight life. If anyone comes to talk, try to make the most of that conversation. It will only help them and never lead to further damages. 

Warning signs

Signs that the person has had enough. 

Most suicidal individuals give warning to how they feel but it lies in people around them to spot or identify it. Major warnings can vary from talking about dying constantly or even looking at options such as drugs. Some subtle ones are unexpected set of habitual changes that can be observed in sleeping patterns, working, and socializing.

Here are a few common warnings you can spot

  1. Seeing no future – They feel that this is the end. Feeling of hopelessness, helplessness and suffocation. They see their life is going nowhere and that things will never get better.
  2. Death, always on my mind- Their activities mostly surround around death. They could be talking, writing or thinking of ways constantly.
  3. “Kill me” – “I might as well be dead” – This are few of the normal statements that they may utter. They talk about suicides like its inevitable.
  4. Self-harm – They could indulge in activities which is known to be reckless and dangerous, such as rash driving or risk-filled adventure in the hope that it may result in death. 
  5. Talking about when they are gone- With no context, the individual may start telling you or asking you what will your reaction be after they are gone. This is one of the initial signs that an individual might be troubled.  
  6. Calmness -If a seemingly depressed person suddenly shows calmness or happiness, it reflects on their decisions to end their life.  They would tell how happy they are or how grateful they are for this life. 

Most of these signs may go unnoticed as it may sound normal but with very close observation we can see that individuals always try to find a reason to stay. 

How can you help?

Listen 

This is the most important when it comes to helping someone. Your friend or family has come to you because they think you can help. Talking for them is a big step. So start off the phrases such as: 

“I’m so glad you thought Icould think how we can solve this.”

When they start talking after this, 

“You talk to me, I’m sure we can definitely figure this out.”

“It is hard, coming and talking but you are here.”

“Your presence is most important than anything.”

Be non-judgemental and empathic 

The reasons your loved one or an individual feels a certain way is something you should not judge. Do not point out facts to show they are wrong. They are doing the right thing by talking and having a conversation so you can look at how best to handle it. Judging will push them away and you cannot help them even if you want to.

Take their emotions, reasons, and their baggage seriously

All of us have a different life and how we deal with it. Do not take it lightly just because theirs does not look similar to yours. Take each and every word they say seriously and look how you can give them hope back with facts.

Never lecture or argue with them that they’re being unreasonable. 

They cannot be reasoned; they don’t care; they know the facts. All they need is clarity and by talking and listening they gain half of the clarity. But most times, we get personal and start arguing to prove points. This should be avoided at all times. 

Suggest Suicide Prevention Helpline numbers

Whether it’s for you or your friend, get help. Helplines and help is always only a call away.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1800 273 8255 (Tollfree)

Helpline numbers in major indian cities:

Roshni (Hyderabad): +914066202000

Sneha foundation India (Chennai): +914424640050

Vandrevala Foundation (Mumbai): 18602662345

AASRA (Bangalore): 02227546669

Everyone has their ups and downs, but for some, things start seeming utterly worse. This is when they decide to give up. But no one ever wants to die as much and they always try to find a reason to stay. This is the window where people can help individuals to find a reason to stay and live. Suicides are increasing with the decrease in human contact with each other. So often busy with ourselves, we forget how to respond properly. On the contrary, try being the person with that welcoming smile who is always ready to listen, talk and support.

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