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Suicide Prevention

19.10.2019 - Parminder K Sandhu

People who take their lives don't want to die- they just want to stop the pain. A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that does not mean that help isn't wanted.

If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life

Approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. They wish there was an alternative to suicide, but they just can't see one. They end their life in a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. 

Common Suicide warning signs :-

* Talking about suicide - Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as " I wish I hadn't been born", "If I see you again..", and " I'd be better off dead".

* Seeking out lethal means -Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in suicide attempt.

* Preoccupation with death - Unusual focus on death, dying or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.

* No hope for the future - Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped ("There's no way out"). Belief that things will never get better or change.

* Self-loathing, self-hatred - Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden (" Everyone would be better off without me").

* Saying goodbye - Unusual or unexpected calls or visits to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again.

* Withdrawing from others - Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.

* Self-destructive behavior - Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a "death wish".

* Sudden sense of calm -  A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made decision to attempt suicide.

Myths about suicide :-

People who talk about suicide won't really do it.

Almost everyone who attempts suicide has given some clue or warning signs. don't ignore even the indirect references to death or suicide. Statements like "You'll be sorry when I'm gone"," I can't see a way out", - no matter how casually or jokingly said - may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.

Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They are upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.

If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.

Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death, they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

People who die of suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.

Take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It's not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide - it's a cry for help.

Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.

You don't give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true - bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

Suicide prevention tips :-

  1. 1. SPEAK UP IF YOU ARE WORRIED

Talking to a friend or family member  about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be extremely difficult for anyone. But giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent  a suicide attempt.

If you spot the warning signs of suicide in someone you care about, you may wonder if it's a good idea to say anything.  What if you are wrong?  What if the person gets angry?  In such situations, it is natural to feel uncomfortable or afraid. But anyone who talks about suicide or show any signs needs immediate help - the sooner the better.

  1. 2. RESPOND QUICKLY IN A CRISIS

If a friend or family member tells you that he or she is thinking about death or suicide, it is  important to evaluate the  immediate danger the person is in. Those at the highest risk for committing suicide in the near future have a specific suicide plan, the means to carry out the plan, a time set for doing it, and an intention to do it. If the suicide attempt seems imminent, consider it an emergency,  but do not ,under any circumstances, leave a suicidal person alone.

  1. 3. OFFER HELP AND SUPPORT

It takes a lot of courage to help someone who is suicidal. Witnessing a loved one dealing with thoughts about ending his or her own life can stir up many difficult emotions. To help a suicidal person :

* Get professional help :- Do everything in your power to get a suicidal person the help he or she needs. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate treatment facility, or take them to a doctor's appointment.

* Follow-up on treatment :- If the doctor prescribes medication,  make sure your friend or loved one takes it as directed. Be aware of possible side effects and be sure to notify the doctor  if the person seems to be getting worse. It often takes time and persistence to customize the best suited medication or therapy for a particular person.

* Be pro-active :- Those contemplating suicide often don't believe they  can be helped, so you may have to be more proactive at offering assistance. Saying ," Call me if you need anything" is too vague. Don't wait for the person to call you or even to return your calls. Drop by, cal again, invite the person out.

* Encourage positive lifestyle changes :- Inculcate healthy  lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and getting out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise is also extremely important as it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being.

* Continue your support over the long haul :- Even after the immediate suicidal crisis has passed, stay in touch with the person, periodically checking in or dropping by. your support is vital to ensure your friend or loved one remains on the recovery track.