CW: This post contains extensive discussion about suicide, what causes it(mentions mental illnesses, eating disorders, addiction, etc), and signs.
A close friend of mine was inspired to write a really informative blog post on suicide. This is something that has been on the minds of most of us, especially as of recently. I wanna add some more to his post.
Why do people commit suicide?
Now, there are many different reasons people may take their own lives. The most common cause is depression and other mental illnesses. But there are also many other causes which we need to know about. Trauma, chronic pain and illness, personality disorders, eating disorders, loneliness, drug addiction and other substance abuse, financial problems and unemployment are some of the other reasons someone might take their own life.
What can we do to help someone who is suicidal?
If someone you know is making threats of suicide, here’s what you need to do:
- Take them seriously.
- Get professional help. Take them to a therapist/psychiatrist, or call the emergency line. Get professional help.
- Listen attentively to what they are saying. Let them talk. Listen listen listen.
- Let them know you are concerned about them.
- Be gentle, kind, non-judgemental, and understanding.
- Be very careful about what you say to them. Please try not to make them feel worse.
- Get professional help.
- Do not leave them alone until they are safe. i.e. With a doctor/medical professional.
People say suicide is a “cry for attention” as if that’s something absurd. If someone needs attention that bad, then give it to them. There is obviously something wrong. They feel desperate, hopeless, and alone. Do not make them feel worse by blaming them or laughing at them. They are clearly at a very low point.
“The thought of committing suicide is never the first that comes to mind. The human body is hardwired for survival, therefore one must endure a great deal of suffering to overcome this primal nature of our species and contemplate the act of taking one’s life. These feelings of hopelessness can arise from several environments or scenarios such as negative views towards their future, their self or the presence of an insurmountable problem.”
What are the signs of a suicidal person?
- Talking or writing about death or suicide.
- Change in sleeping or eating habits.
- Losing interest in most activities, especially ones that were previously important to them.
- Withdrawing from family and friends.
- Dramatic mood swings.
- Self-harming or abusing drugs or alcohol.
- Acting impulsively or engaging in behaviour that is reckless or risky.
- Making comments about feeling guilty, hopeless, worthless, helpless, lonely, or feeling trapped.
- Writing a will, or notes, letters, or calling and visiting loved ones to say goodbye.
So what do you do if you notice someone behaving like this?
Bring it up. Say, “hey I’ve noticed you’ve been doing …… lately.” “I’m a little worried about you because of …..” Offer your listening ear, or ask them what they need help with.
Give the person the opportunity to vent and open up to you. Asking about things like this isn’t going to make them want to commit suicide. You’ll just be giving them a much needed avenue to talk about a difficult topic.
If you know anyone exhibiting this kind of behaviour, please talk to them. If you feel you do not have the capacity to do so, then please let them seek out a professional. (A directory of clinics is listed below)
Or you can visit one of the mental health clinics in your area. You can find a full list and all the services each clinic offers, on their Mental Health Services Directory.