World Suicide Prevention Day: Ways to help people in mental distress 

  • September 10, 2021

According to WHO, more than 703,000 individuals commit suicide each year, i.e., every 40 seconds. Suicide is far too prevalent.

 On 10 September 2003, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and WHO announced an annual World Suicide Prevention Day to encourage, promote, and raise global awareness about suicide prevention. 

With the current pandemic causing such a harsh environment for mental health, World Suicide Prevention Day is the prime time to work on suicide prevention and support for those who are going through tough times.  Our aim is not only to eliminate the stigma tied to suicide but also to encourage people to feel connected to one another and to know they are not alone.

Warning signs of someone having suicidal thoughts 

It can be difficult to discern if somebody is considering suicide. Identifying the problem in multiple dimensions, recognizing risk factors, and determining what works in individual societies are the most important steps in preventing suicide. It is possible to save a life by recognizing early warning symptoms and seeking professional help. Here are some of the warning signs:  

  • Behavioral changes  
  • Talking about wanting to die and looking for ways to do so. 
  • Expressions of hopelessness 
  • Feeling enslaved or burdened 
  • Increased alcohol or drug consumption 
  • Too much or too little sleep  
  • Isolation and outbursts of fury or mood swings 
  • Inability to perform daily tasks that may indicate a worsening mental health condition 

Suicide Prevention tips to help people having suicidal thoughts 

Ask: “Are you planning to commit suicide?” It’s not an easy question, but researchers have found that when someone asks about someone with thoughts of suicide, they feel relief. Talk to your loved ones if you notice any changes in their behavior.   

Be There: When a person feels heard without judgment, they tend to feel less depressed, less suicidal, more reassuring.  Make sure you listen carefully to the person’s thoughts and emotions. A good listener can reduce tension and stress for them. 

Keep Them Safe: According to research, suicide rates decrease when lethal means are less readily available. Though this might not always be simple, asking the person at risk if he or she has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means will often make a difference. 

Help Them Stay Connected: If you need to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741), save the numbers so that they are available to you when in need. In an emergency, you should contact social media outlets or 911 if you are worried about your friend’s social media updates. It is also possible to reach out to someone who you trust, like a family member, a friend, a spiritual advisor, or mental health professional. 

Follow Up:  According to studies, when someone follows up with an at-risk person, the number of suicide deaths decreases.  It can make a difference to stay in touch with the at-risk person after a crisis or after they have been discharged from hospital or care services.  

Immediate Help: If someone has attempted suicide, the following steps should be taken: 

  • The person should not be left alone.   
  • Contact 911 or local emergency services right away. If you can do so safely, you may take the person yourself to the nearest hospital. 
  • Look for signs that he or she may be intoxicated or have taken an overdose.   
  • Inform a family member or friend right away.

Take part in World Suicide Prevention Day by opening the lines of communication because it’s the only way to prevent suicide. Reach out to someone you know who is struggling. Open up to someone who cares for you or a mental health expert if you are the one who is struggling.  

 

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