Suicide Prevention: What to do When Someone is Suicidal
Mental health has become a serious problem in today’s society. From young children, all the way to the elderly, depression and anxiety have become prominent in many people’s lives, and wider awareness of this needs to be made.
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Along with depression, anxiety and mental health issues stem from suicidal thoughts. This is one of the worst possible things that can stem from mental health problems. Whether depression is within ourselves or someone we know, we need to be able to support and help them in preventing suicidal thoughts get out of hand.
According to a report from ‘Gulf News’, one of the largest reasons behind suicide in the UAE is due to financial reasons. Many adults find themselves in tough situations financially, leading them to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Aside from this, many other issues such as health reasons, family problems, workplace conflicts, and others are contributing factors towards suicide. With the number of resources available in the UAE, people with suicidal thoughts should not be something people have to face alone.
Signs of Depression
Behaviours and symptoms that can be demonstrated by people with depression and suicidal thoughts are:
- Talking about suicide such as “I wish I were dead”, “I want to kill myself.”
- Feeling trapped, lonely and discouraged
- Withdrawing themselves from social groups
- Difficulty paying attention or focusing
- Self-destructive behaviour such as reckless driving
- Obsession with film or media with death
- Giving away belongings or possessions with no motive or reason
- Unexplainable mood swings
- Saying goodbye to people as if they will never see them again
- Change in sleeping, eating and daily routines
If you notice any of the above changes or symptoms in someone you know, make sure you check up on them and provide them with the support they need.
If you are unsure what to do in this situation or how you can help them, here are a few things you can try.
What to do When Someone is Suicidal
1. Try not to leave them alone
If you notice that someone is in serious need of help and is serious about taking their own life, its best not to leave them alone. If you can go to them and keep them company, that would be the best thing to ensure they don’t do something detrimental.
If you are unsure how to approach the person or not close enough to them to say anything, call for help, whether it be a mutual friend or law enforcement. Just be sure to keep an eye on them before help arrives.
2. Communicate effectively
If you see someone demonstrating suicidal behaviours or is talking about it, try to get them to open up to you. The key for you here is to calm them down and let them feel like they are being heard.
Even if you have your own opinion or don’t know what to say. It’s good to keep quiet and be the listening ear they desperately need. People with depression often feel isolated, alone and misunderstood.
You can help them feel better by getting them to spill out what they have bottled for so long.
3. Never keep suicidal thoughts a secret
If someone has opened up to you about their suicidal thoughts and they don’t want to seek help, you should seek help for them. Contact social services, law enforcement, support groups, as well as friends and family.
Even if the person asks you to keep it a secret, you need to help them find the help they need as it is a matter of life and death. Keeping it under wraps is the last thing you should do.
4. Refer help
Once the person has told you how they felt and what they are going through, show them that help is always an option and that better days are ahead If you are unsure on how or what to say, tell them where they can find help.
If you don’t know what the best advice to give the troubled person. It’s best to refer them to a support network, psychologist or even a doctor. In a non-judgmental way, tell them and provide them with a pathway to seek professional help.
Keep in Mind
People who have suicidal thoughts or demonstrate suicidal behaviours should not be punished. Instead, they should be treated with compassion and support. People who have severe depression or are battling mental health problems need someone to talk to and share their deep feelings and emotions.
By supporting one another instead of alienating or isolating them, we can help our peers and our community as a whole battle depression and mental health. Depression and suicide can only be stopped in a collective effort, and we need to be able to count on each other.
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