In recent times, there appears to be an upsurge in suicide cases (both alleged and confirmed) within our communities. I am particularly worried about the suicide rates and the question has always been; why didn’t they tell us they were in pain? Why didn’t they reach out to somebody? Could it be that they called for help and we ignored them? Could it be that we took their call for help for granted or even brushed it aside as being a joke?
I have been close to people whose friends or colleagues or children have taken their own lives and verbal postmortem has shown in some instances that, they called for help but the call was missed. In this blog post, I seek to discuss common ways in which persons may call for help and ways by which we can help them😊
What is suicide?
Suicide is the act of harming one’s self with the purpose to ending one’s own life. A suicidal attempt is a failed attempt to deliberately end one’s own life. Globally, suicide accounts for over 800,000 deaths each year. Of utmost concern is the growing rates of suicide among young people. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 15-19 year olds. Suicide is of global concern as every country, rich or poor, has high rates but alas, 79% of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.
Studies have shown that, for every suicide, there are about 30 more that were attempted (Bachmann, 2018).
It is important to note that a prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population. Others include;
- Mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance abuse
- family adversity such as Conflict, separation or divorce of parents, loss of a parent
- Social alienation
- sexual abuse
- Performance problems at school/ work
- Loss of job
- Sudden change in behavior
- Apathy (lack of interest in things that normally excited them)
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Unusual preoccupation/ talks about death
- Symptoms of depression (severe unhappiness, sleep disturbance, eating disorders, hopelessness)
- Distinct feelings of guilt and self-reproach
- Feeling and expression of being a burden
In this era of social media, these warning signs are sometimes expressed as comments or status updates subtly or overtly. Eg. I am fed up with this life😫, why am I still here😔 I am tired and I want to give up😢 etc.
If you see or sense something is wrong?
Talk to the person to confirm your suspicion by asking them a few of the following questions tactfully and sensitively;
1. How are you coping with what’s been happening in your life?
2. Do you ever feel like just giving up?
3. Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
4. Have you ever thought about suicide before, or tried to harm yourself before?
5. Have you thought about how or when you’d do it?
How about venting some of the stress on some battle ropes
If you confirm that your loved one is in danger;
1. Don’t be judgmental🙄 This is not the time to say after all you have bla bla👎🏾
2. Get him or her professional help immediately. ✅Don’t keep someone’s suicide ideation a secret👎🏾. It can be Castrostrophic
3. Encourage the person to seek counselling👍🏾
4. Offer reassurance that there are better days ahead😊
✅Tap into existing coping and problem-solving skills. E.g take it a day at a time.
✅Connect with friends, family, and community support.
✅Don’t suffer alone, share your burden.
✅Connect with the higher being in your life through meditation, prayer and fellowship.
✅Rely on supportive relationships. Move out of toxic relationships that threaten your mental health and sanity.
✅Visit any public district or regional facility and get an appointment with a clinical psychologist or a mental health nurse.
✅ Take a break and relax. How about a spa day, or a swim or maybe a walk through the neighborhood . See the other side of life!
Swimming also does help keep you calm
Until I come your way again, watch out for the warning signs and save a life!😇