Suicide is among the leading causes of death across the globe. We all experience overwhelming pain and painful situations at some point in life. Some people cope easily while others feel suicidal but fail to take their lives. Others see ending their breath as the only solution to doing away with the situation they are experiencing. These people often feel hopeless and believe nobody can offer help or comprehend what they are experiencing. Fortunately, suicide is preventable but only if we understand what to do. Here are some ways to stop suicide.
1. Do away with Stigma and talk about suicide
If we have to prevent suicide, then we need to talk about it. It is here with us, taking away those we loved merely because they are ashamed to talk about it. Nobody whois struggling with suicidal thoughts or other mental health conditions should feel silenced or shamed. How then do we stop suicide if we are ashamed of suicide itself and those suffering from suicidal tendencies?
Many times, many people fear to talk about suicide, which deters the efforts to prevent suicide. We need to talk about suicide, enlighten others and open up for communications to those struggling with suicidal thoughts. Let us speak and inform ourselves about the warning signs, and where to find professional help. This way we empower ourselves to deal with suicide. When we eliminate stigma, we create a conducive environment for people to seek help and support.
2. Understand the warning signs and take them seriously
It is impossible to prevent an occurrence when you cannot foretell its coming. If we are to prevent suicide, then we ought to recognize the warning signs. People who are at risk of taking their lives often exhibit the following signs.
Listen to verbal warnings in their conversation; for example,
A lack a reason to continue leaving
Despondency or hopelessness or self-worthlessness
They may feel they are a burden to others
Suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts.
Self-hatred and self-destructive behavior
Increased use of drugs and alcohol
Researching for ways to end their own lives including online searches
Sleeping too little or too much
Reaching out to people to say goodbye
Lack of interest or withdrawal from activities they love – a feeling of nothing matters. They may give up on themselves
Rage and irritability
This is not obvious. However, if the person’s mood suddenly changes to a sense of calm and happiness after a prolonged period of depression, it may indicate that the individual has made up his or her mind to commit suicide.
3. Reach out and Listen
If you identify a suicidal person (showing signs of suicide), you need to identify ways to reach out and let the individual know you care. Ask the person if they are thinking about suicide. Assure the person that you are open to listen and speak about suicide in an open, non-judgmental and supportive manner. The aim is to break the ice for the person open up to share about his or her emotions and pain. This way you can identify the next appropriate step to help him or her. Learning the QPR steps is essential if we wish to prevent suicide. The QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) is a popular method allows us to identify the indicators of suicide, how to offer help and seek help to stop suicide.
4. Know where to find help
If we are to prevent suicide, we need to know where to find help. We must be enlightened about the local and national resources that provide prevention, education, and support for mental health. Know where to find a mental health care expert within your area of residence. Know the contacts to call when you need help with suicide prevention or an emergency.
5. Set up a safety plan
It is possible to set up a safety plan early for dealing with suicide attempts or indicators that a colleague is planning to take their own life. A safety plan often entails a support team that will respond appropriately when required and check in on the person now and then. You can find a Suicide prevention plan online on the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. The plan includes a team of people that will monitor the suicidal person and the essential contacts for the person to call when the suicidal urges arise. Encourage the person to talk to a therapist so that the expert can help develop a support system such as friends and family.