So today is suicide prevention day and I thought I would help contribute by writing this post. Having been in both general and an eating disorder hospital I was shocked when finding that a vast number of patients where either admitted for taking overdoses, suicidal thoughts or had a history of attempts.
It was an eye opener!
Being brought up in a society that sometimes does not takes illnesses such as depression seriously, it really concerned me that people where obviously unable to access the right support. Depression is a serious mental illness that like any other illness can come with different severities, symptoms and of course different treatment will be needed for each individual.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year and in a short term figure that’s one person every 40 seconds. For such a common issue people need to be made aware that being there for someone even when they appear disconnected or uniterested could be a life saving action.
There is a lot of stigma around suicide, Depression and other mental ilnesses with some viewing it as attention seeking, a sign of weakness or sefishness. This is just not true! Sufferers usually have battled with these thoughts for a while looking for a way to end the pain. They may feel the option of taking their life is the best thing for others or the last resort to stop the pain.
Some people may have no one to turn to as they feel too ashamed to admit they are struggling due to the stigmatization. By breaking this stigma we could help contribute to the reduction of attempts as people may feel more comfortable to reach out for help..
“But what could do I’m no psychologist…?”
- Listen – sometimes just sharing an issue can give a release to the sufferer. It will allow them to express their feelings and hopefully by talking about it, it might actually help them find another way to cope with the underlying issue.
- Be trustworthy – there’s nothing worse than opening up to someone only to see your conversation on social media or shared round the local neighbourhood. Being able to trust someone enough that they do not have the added pressure of worrying about who will be told is highly important in reducing stress levels. But don’t keep information that could possibly leave the person at danger to themselves because that also would also be unhelpful.
- Give the person space – dont pressure them into revealing anything they feel uncomfortable to do so. If they want to tell you something give them time to build up their courage without pressuring them into doing so.
- Get help – ask professionals what the best thing to do in the situation and if intervention is needed then that is probably best for the sufferer.
There are many help lines that are open to people both suffering from suicidal thoughts and those around them that are also affected. Many are open 24 hours with someone available at almost any time you need them. Below I have listed a few of the most popular…
- Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a help line for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a help line, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
- Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
- Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
If you would rather speak to someone you already know or trust here are a few other options
- Family member
- Mental healthcare professional
- Healthcare professional
- Religious / faith leader
For anyone struggling or affected by the loss of someone it is important you reach out and find the right support….
”Suicide doesnt end the chance of life getting worse it eliminates the possibilities of it ever getting better with the pain passed on to those left behind…keep fighting the battle and you will eventually move through it”