Suicide: Don’t suffer alone
Chris Broome – Chartered Financial Planner
Suicide is a significant health issue. Over 700,000 people take their own life each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. It is the leading cause of death for people under 35 years old, with males aged 45-49 having the highest suicide rate.
Suicides and suicide attempts have a ripple effect that impacts on families, friends, colleagues, communities and societies.
In suicide prevention we can all have a role to play, no matter how big or small.
Maybe you’re having a difficult time, or thinking about suicide. Or you might be worried about a loved one, a friend or a work colleague. Perhaps you’ve been bereaved by suicide.
Whatever your circumstance, you are not alone. There is support available. We’ve put together some useful information below, taken from professional support networks.
If you’re having a difficult time or feeling suicidal
Suicidal feelings can mean having abstract thoughts about ending your life or feeling that people would be better off without you. Or it can mean thinking about methods of suicide or making clear plans to take your own life.
Different people have different experiences of suicidal feelings. You might feel unable to cope with the difficult feelings you are experiencing. You may feel less like you want to die and more like you cannot go on living the life you have.
You may want others to understand what you’re going through, but you might feel worried or scared about opening up to people. The earlier you let someone know how you’re feeling, the quicker you’ll be able to get support to overcome these feelings.
There are steps you can take right now to stop yourself from acting on your suicidal thoughts. Everyone is different, so it’s about finding what works best for you.
Visit the Mind website for more information. Or if you need to talk to somebody, contact the National Suicide Prevention Helpline or the Samaritans:
National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK
0800 689 5652
Worried about someone
It can be really worrying when someone you care about is going through a difficult time.
If you’re concerned about someone, talk to them. Research shows that it is safer to ask about suicide than not to ask about suicide. Asking someone if they’re suicidal could protect them. This might be their first step in getting help and hearing that they matter.
If someone tells you they are suicidal do not dismiss their feelings but take what you are being told seriously. If someone puts enough trust in you to confide his/her innermost feelings you really need to listen to what is being said.
Some terminology and assumptions around suicide add to the weight of social stigma and shame that it carries. These stereotypes only confirm to those at risk that they are misunderstood, inadequate or alone and are more likely to struggle in silence.
Here are some of the most harmful suicide myths debunked:
Myth: Asking someone if they’re suicidal might give them the idea and encourage it
Fact: Asking someone if they’re suicidal could protect them.
Talking about suicide not only reduces the stigma, but also allows individuals to seek help, rethink their options.
Myth: People who threaten suicide are just seeking attention
Fact: Anyone talking about suicide needs serious attention.
They are in pain and may feel hopeless. Most people who die by suicide have talked about it first – we should always take seriously anyone talking about suicide.
Myth: People who die by suicide are selfish and take the easy way out
Fact: People who attempt suicide are suffering with deep feelings of exhausting despair, hopelessness, worthlessness, or other overwhelming feelings.
They often feel they are a burden to others. They may believe that suicide is the only way out to end their intense suffering and pain.
Most people who are thinking about taking their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.
A person may be suicidal if you see a change in behaviour or the presence of entirely new behaviours. This is of particular concern if the new or changed behaviour is related to a painful event, loss, or change.
These websites have some really helpful information on understanding suicide, looking out for warning signs, and how you can help:
Bereaved by suicide
When we lose someone to suicide, we can go through many different, complicated emotions. There’s no right or wrong way to feel or to react.
When someone dies by suicide, it can have a big impact on everyone who knew them. And different people cope in different ways.
If you feel affected by a suicide, there are organisations that can help you to talk through difficult emotions.
Here are some places where you can find support: