Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and with the recent news of celebrity suicides, it is important that we address this topic and learn how to read the signs of someone who is suicidal as well as how to respond.
A person who is suicidal, might not ask for help before deciding to commit suicide. There are so many factors that lead to a person committing suicide. Often, we wonder why that person didn’t communicate first before taking a drastic decision of killing oneself. It is difficult to understand why a person wants to commit suicide if you have never been on that road before. People who commit suicide don’t do it to kill themselves and die. They do it because they are in some sort of pain and to them, only death can take it away.
World Suicide Prevention Day
World Suicide Prevention Day is on the 10th of September. It was created to acknowledge and help us realise the seriousness of suicide and the number of people it affects. Sometimes, all it takes is an open ear and an open eye to realise who amongst your friends and family are feeling down enough to commit suicide. A person, who is having suicidal thoughts, will most likely not ask for help.
Since the act of committing suicide is, more or less, a desperate attempt to end the suffering that is going on. To a person deciding to commit suicide, there is no other way to ease the pain aside from killing themselves. Obviously, this is not the way to deal with things in life but sometimes, we need to see the point of view of those, who are contemplating suicide or having suicidal thoughts.
Why do People Commit Suicide?
Mental Health Illness and Suicide
Not everyone wanting or intending to commit suicide can be labelled as crazy, insane or psychotic. They are just in a state of being so upset, despair, extremely distressed and grief-stricken, and going through a range of emotional pain – all of which are not specifically signs of mental illness. People, who have suicidal thoughts, isolate themselves, have feelings of self-loathing and spend their days feeling hopeless. They are in so much pain that they see no other way out of this other than committing suicide.
Suicidal People do Talk and Joke about Suicide
Sometimes, people think that those who openly talk about suicide, will not do it. Serious suicidal feelings can be shared and expressed in many ways and forms. At times, in a manner of joking around about killing oneself and other times, in all seriousness. If someone you know is going through some life issues and is suddenly talking about suicide or behaving in a suicidal way, this is a warning sign of the disturbed person crying out for help.
Recognise Transparent Warning Signs of Suicide
- Talking about killing oneself
- Talking about harming oneself
- Writing about death
- Writing about dying
- Talking about death and dying
- Looking for harmful and dangerous objects, such as weapons and drugs
- Talking about unbearable feelings
- Sharing that their future is bleak
- Talking about how they have nothing to look forward to in life
Feelings that may lead to having suicidal thoughts
Sometimes, we feel things so strongly that it overpowers every other emotion in our body and mind. This commonly happens to people who are feeling down and out, especially when things are not going their way in life. These are the not-so-transparent warning signs of suicide that you need to watch out for:
- A Sense or Feeling of Hopelessness
- Dramatic Mood Swings
- Sudden Personality Changes
- A change in attitude and behaviour, such as becoming an introvert
- Losing interest in carrying out day-to-day activities
- Neglecting one’s appearance
- Changes in eating habits
- Changes in sleeping habits
Who might be more prone to committing suicide?
While the act of committing suicide can happen to a person with no mental illness or other challenges, there are people with serious mental health conditions that are more prone to having suicidal thoughts, especially if they are not taking their medications like they are supposed to. These include those with:
- Bipolar Disorder
- With a history of suicide in the family
- A record of previously attempted suicide
How can you help a suicidal person?
If a person wants to commit suicide, there is a huge chance the impulse of doing that will overpower any other objective feelings. However, that does not mean that this person is completely hopeless and does not need help. As a concerned family member or friend, you can talk openly about suicidal thoughts to the friend or family member you feel needs it. By talking openly about it, you might just end up saving a life. This is why talking about suicide is important. It is nothing to feel ashamed of and is a topic that needs priority if you feel there is something going on in your loved one’s mind – something negative and suicidal.
“Suicide should not be an acceptable outcome for mental disorders. Proper treatment can reduce the risk of suicide. But ensuring that those who are at risk receive care will require a sustained effort both at the micro and macro levels,” John Mann, M.D., Ph.D, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of the Suicide Prevention Center.
Talk about Suicide Openly
Talking about suicide openly with someone you are concerned about might just help that person realise that you care. You are also in a position to prevent this person from committing suicide and you can get this person the help needed from a doctor or a psychologist.
According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), studies have shown that half of the people that ended up killing themselves have, in fact, sought medical help six months before they took their own lives. This goes to show that people, who are suicidal, do seek help, contrary to the popular belief that they refused to be helped.
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