THERESA ZETTL

Observed on September 10th every year, World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) provides the opportunity for people across the globe, to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.
According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), one in every 100 deaths worldwide is a suicide. World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide and to promote action through proven means that will reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts globally.

But why do people even consider suicide?

It is difficult to imagine what led a friend, family member, or celebrity to commit suicide. Often, many factors combine to lead a person to the decision to take their own life.

  • Mental illnesses (such as depression, bipolar disorder, Borderline personality disorder, eating disorders or Schizophrenia)
  • Traumatic stress (such as childhood sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse or war trauma)
  • Substance use (such as drugs and alcohol)
  • Loss or fear of loss (such as Academic failure, job loss, financial problems, loss of acceptance due to revealing sexual orientation, end of a relationship)
  • Hopelessness
  • Chronic Pain or Illness (such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Migraine, Parkinson’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, Multiple sclerosis, ALS, etc.)
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Social Isolation

Are there any warning signs?

There is not really any typical pattern of behaviour of someone who is suicidal but there are common more obvious warning signs, like:

  • Talking about dying or wanting to die
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no way out of problems
  • Mentioning strong feelings of guilt and shame
  • Talking about not having a reason to live or that others would be better off without them
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Giving away personal items
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family

As a friend of family member you shall also pay attention to the following less obvious warning signs:

  • Unusual change in behavior
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Stockpilling pills
  • Emotional distance
  • Physical pain

What can you do if someone seems suicidal?

If the situation is immediate, that someone is actually threatening suicide and talking about it, how to he/she will do it, please call an emergency. Do not leave the person alone and try to find out, if he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may have taken an overdose. Tell a family member or a friend right away what is going on.

If a friend of a family members talks or behaves that makes you believe he or she might attempt suicide, get help from a trained professional as quickly as possible, as the person may need to be hospitalized until the suicidal crisis has passed. Talk to the person and ask directly why they are considering suicide. Suggest getting professional help and offer options to make it an easier step to take. The Mayo Clinic published a catalog of questions you can ask to find out whether a person is in danger of acting on suicidal feelings.

  • How are you coping with what’s been happening in your life?
  • Do you ever feel like just giving up?
  • Are you thinking about dying?
  • Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
  • Are you thinking about suicide?
  • Have you ever thought about suicide before, or tried to harm yourself before?
  • Have you thought about how or when you’d do it?
  • Do you have access to weapons or things that can be used as weapons to harm yourself?

Most importantly: Tell your friend or family member that getting professional help is no reason to feel ashamed and that it is not considered a failure.

World Suicide Prevention Day
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The opinions on this blog are of the authors themselves and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of ELfR.


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