Why we need to talk about suicide
Posted on 6th February 2017 at 10:46
It doesn’t matter what angle you come at this topic – the question “why?” is there. To those left behind when someone has completed suicide “why?” is the burning, spear of agony that destroys sleep, destroys relationships and often destroys lives.
More than 6000 people a year end their own lives in the UK and that figure is growing. Why?
Every 4 minutes in the UK someone attempts suicide – once every 90 minutes someone succeeds.
These figures are shocking and bewildering to most who read about them, and a nightmare for those directly affected so who or what is responsible?
The answers inevitably are complex and varied and it is too easy for those of us not on the frontline to think it’s tragic but there’s nothing I can do. Wrong. There are things we can all do:
1 Talk about it.
Most people are afraid to ask if someone is feeling suicidal as they imagine this might encourage it to happen. In fact the opposite is true. By starting the conversation, you can help them get the help they need. If you’re not sure where to start download excellent leaflet from The University of Exeter Medical School.
2 Look for warning signs
Warning signs that someone may be thinking about or planning suicide include:
• Always talking or thinking about death
• Clinical depression -- deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating -- that gets worse
• Having a "death wish," tempting fate by engaging in risky behaviours
• Losing interest in things they used to care about
• Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
• Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
• Saying things like "it would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
• Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
• Talking about suicide or killing themselves
• Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
3 Don’t make assumptions
There now seems to be a prevailing assumption that all who take their own lives have some form of mental illness. In fact, 75% of all suicides come “out of the blue” in that the person had no previous diagnosis or interaction with mental health provision. Don’t think “oh they’re not the suicidal type” there isn’t a type. It can happen to anyone.
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