Over the last number of years we have had a few of the youth who joined our programme talk about suicide. So why with all the services we have in place is suicide still on the rise. Pieta house recently tweeted that they have experienced and increase of 165% of young people aged under 18 attending its services for self harm…
Here are my thoughts on the subject….
4 Myths About Suicide:
A lot of myths surround suicide and depression. Often, people believe they are helpless to a person who is suicidal, or that talking about it may push the person in the wrong direction. These myths are not true. Educate yourself about these myths and share the truths with others. You may help save a life.
Myth 1: Those who talk about suicide don’t do it.
The Lie – Most of the people who either attempted or completed suicide have made their intentions known ahead of time by either talking about it or by giving other clues. Talk of suicide should not be ignored or readily dismissed.
Myth 2: If a person is really intent on killing themselves, there is nothing anybody can do to stop them.
The Lie – Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about dying and most likely just wants to end the pain they are in, not their lives. Often times if a person in crisis gets the help they need, they will never be suicidal again. Suicide can be prevented in most cases and any act of kindness has the potential to save a life.
Myth 3: If you talk about suicide, you give people the idea to kill themselves.
The Lie – Chances are if you’re thinking about suicide, they’ve already thought it too. Asking somebody directly about suicidal thoughts often brings a sense of relief to the suicidal person and helps them to live, not give them ideas to die.
Myth 4: Only experts or professionals can prevent suicide.
The Lie – Suicide prevention is everybody’s business, and anyone can help prevent the tragedy of suicide.
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Common Myths about Suicide
- “Those who talk about suicide won’t do it.”
- “Telling someone to do it will snap them out of it.”
- “Suicide attempters really want to die.”
- “Talking about suicide will give some ‘ideas’.”
- “Suicide victims were all psychotic.”
- “Most suicides occur with no warning.”
- “If someone is suicidal, she/he will be so forever.”
- “Someone who has attempted suicide won’t try again.”
- “People who say they’re suicidal only want attention.”
Realities about Suicide
Many who talk about suicide complete suicide.
- This is the single most dangerous thing to do.
- Suicidal people want to end their suffering.
- Talking about suicide shows that you care.
- Most suicidal people are in touch with reality.
- Many suicidal victims show warning signs.
- Suicidality is not permanent; it will pass.
- Most victims have made one or more attempts.
- Suicidal behaviour is often a “plea for help.”
Suicide Warning Signs
Warning signs indicate that someone may be suicidal. They show that something is very wrong. Though they appear clear and concrete they are often hard to see in someone that we are close to or in ourselves. Warning signs are not always present, but it is important that they be identified when they are evident.
- Hopelessness, worthlessness, feeling a loss of control, helplessness
- Threatening to harm oneself or completing suicide
- Having a definite plan for completing suicide
- Acquiring the means to complete suicide (e.g, getting a gun)
- Rehearsing or visiting a place to complete suicide
- Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs ● Changes in eating, sleeping, and personal care Apathy, lack of energy, inability to focus
- Talking or writing about death, drawing images of death
- Withdrawing from social relationships or activities
- Losing interest in hobbies, work, school
- Giving away highly valued personal items or possessions
- Undergoing significant changes in mood and personality
- Engaging in reckless or dangerous behaviours
- Making a will, funeral arrangements, or telling others how affairs should be handled
Suicidal Behaviour Triggers
Certain stressful events may bring about suicidal behaviour. These are “triggers.” They are things that happen to or around an individual. They may push someone with one or more risk factors toward suicidality.
Some common triggers are:
- The break up of a close personal relationship (e.g., engagement or marriage),losing old friends, or interpersonal conflicts
- The death of a close relative or friend
- Suicide loss, especially a child, parent, spouse, or sibling
- Financial loss or incurring major indebtedness
- Rejection (e.g., not getting a job or promotion, not be accepted to a college)
- Loss of self-esteem or status (e.g., losing a job, failing at school, being cut from a team, etc.) or feeling humiliated.
- Becoming seriously ill or disabled
- Facing arrest, trial, prison, or other legal difficulty
It is thought that triggers interact with risk factors to produce suicidal thoughts (ideation), which may lead to other more serious forms of suicidal behaviour.
Suicide Risk Factors
- A prior suicide attempt
- Experiencing a serious personal loss
- Family history of suicide
- History of abuse, abusiveness, or family violence
- Severe depressive episode Long-term depression or other serious mental illness
- Having a dual diagnosis (i.e., mental illness and substance abuse)
- Using/abusing alcohol, drugs, or other substances
- Having a disabling and/or chronic illness and/or severe pain
- Being arrested, jailed, or imprisoned
Protective factors are things about an individual’s personality, background, beliefs and values, social or family situation, environment, and so forth that can help in preventing or overcoming suicidal feelings. They enhance an individual’s response to chronic stress or traumatic events in her/his life. They are related to the concept of “resilience.” Some protective factors are:
- Optimism and a positive orientation towards the future
- Good coping capability
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Willingness to readily seek and accept help
- A good sense of self-esteem and self-worth
- Strong spiritual values and religious ties
- Close family or social bonds
- Emotional stability (i.e., not being impulsive or short-tempered)
Definitions of Suicide
Bad Boy Turned Good has adopted the following terminology recommended in S.K. Goldsmith et al. (Eds.), Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative (Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine, 2002):
- “Suicide”: Fatal self-inflicted destructive act with explicit or inferred intent to die.”
- “Suicide Attempt”: A non-fatal, self-inflicted destructive act with explicit or inferred intent to die.”
- “Suicidal Ideation”: Thoughts of harming or killing oneself.”
- “Suicidal Communication”: Direct or indirect expressions of suicidal ideation or of intent to harm or kill oneself, expressed verbally or through writing, artwork, or other means.”
- “Suicidality”: All suicide-related behaviours and thoughts including completing or attempting suicide, suicidal ideation or communications.
DONT WAIT FOR HELP…. CALL NOW…. 0818.333.250
What to do if you suspect someone is suicidal
Suicide is a scary topic, and it is terrifying to think that a loved one may be considering it. Follow the below steps to assist in helping your friend or loved one.
What to do if you suspect someone is suicidal:
- Talk to them alone in a private setting;
- Ask them if they are thinking of killing themselves or are suicidal;
- Ask them if they have a plan.
If the answer is yes, take them to the local GP/ Caredoc or contact your local Crisis Intervention centre RIGHT AWAY and DON’T leave them alone.
If the answer is no, make an appointment for them to see their therapist, psychiatrist, or doctor as soon as possible, and ask them how you can help them. Try to get them help as soon as possible. Ask them to make an agreement with you that they will not hurt themselves before they get help, or that they will contact you if they feel they are in crisis, or feeling worse.
Over 90% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosable and treatable mental illness at the time of death. Experts agree that clinical depression is one of the biggest risk factors for suicidal thoughts. Depression can be treated with medicine, counselling, or a combination of the two. Approximately 80% of the people who seek help for their depression improve with treatment. Therapies such as cognitive behavioural and interpersonal (talk) therapy can help with depression. There are many medications now available, or a combination of both medication and therapy can prove to be very effective in treating depression. Remember that if one medication doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean they all won’t work. Often times a person has to go through a period of trial and error to find the treatment that works best for them.
YOU CANNOT BRING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT….. LIGHT OVERCOMES DARKNESS… BE THE LIGHT & MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND INCREASE AWARENESS OF SUICIDE PREVENTION
DONT WAIT FOR HELP…. CALL NOW…. 0818.333.250
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