Suicide By Cathy Mandile
- Why do people consider suicide?
- Myths about suicide
- How do you respond to people talking about suicide?
- What services are available
“People talk about suicide like it’s a secret that you can’t share with anyone. Suicide is whispered amongst friends and family members, and when someone engages in a suicidal act, the only question on everyone’s lips is, “Why?”
Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects the way a person thinks, feels and acts. It is not just feeling “blue” for no reason for a day or two. It is a lengthy pit of despair where hope is just a memory and suicide appears to be a reasonable, real choice. Suicide will end a person’s emotional suffering instantly, and it makes the person feel like they are removing one of the causes of pain and suffering for others in their lives as well. Suicide Appears Like an Answer” (John M. Grohol, Psy.D).
Every three and a half hours someone takes their own life in Australia ….
Every eight minutes a person attempts suicide
Eighty six people every day inflict self harm requiring hospitalisation.
This is more than those requiring hospitalisation due to road accidents and yet we hear nothing about this problem.
- What word(s) come to mind when you hear that someone has attempted suicide?
- How does it make you feel when this occurs?
What may lead people to consider suicide?
Feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of suicide can be much worse following very stressful experiences. Eg:
- Relationship breakup
- Traumatic life event
- Feeling totally alone without family or friends
- Grief after a death of someone close
- Losing a job
How they might Feel
- Sad, angry, ashamed, rejected, desperate, lonely, irritable, overly happy or exhausted
- Trapped and helpless : “I can’t see any way out of this.”
- Worthless or hopeless
What they might be doing
- Spending less time with family and friends
- Isolating themselves and pushing people away
- Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide and giving away possessions
- Stopping doing things that they previously enjoyed
- Increasing alcohol and /or other drug use
- Doing dangerous, life threatening actions without concern for their safety
- Changing their approach to their physical health; changes in sleep, diet, level of exercise
Myths about Suicide
1. Once a person is seriously considering suicide, there is nothing you can do.
2. If you ask a person about their suicidal intentions, you will encourage the person to kill themselves.
3. A person who attempts suicide will always be “suicidal”.
4. Suicidal people rarely seek medical attention.
5. People who talk about suicide, don’t complete suicide.
6. Suicide happens without warning.
7. Suicidal people are fully intent on dying.
8. Improvement following a suicidal crisis means that the risk of suicide is over.
9. Suicide occurs more frequently among certain classes of people.
10. All people with suicidal thoughts are loners.
11. If a person really wants to kill themselves, no one has the right to stop them.
- If you notice any of the warning signs and are worried about a friend talk about it with them
- Make time to listen. Sometimes listening is what the person really needs as it helps to ‘let it out’.
- Ask them directly about suicide.
- 70% of people who commit suicide tell someone about their plans, or give some other type of warning signs.
- “You’ve been really down lately and you haven’t been going out for weeks. I’m wondering if things seem so bad that you are thinking about killing yourself and if you have made any plans?”
Seek Help – don’t do this on your own.
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- SuicideLine 1300 651 251
- Local mental health Crisis Service (CATS/Triage)
Friends and family who are close to an individual are in the best position to spot these warning signs. Often times people feel helpless in dealing with someone who is depressed or suicidal. Usually it is helpful to encourage the person to seek professional mental health help from a therapist, psychiatrist, school counselor, or even telling their family doctor about their feelings. Your friend or loved one needs to know you’re there for them, that you care and you will support them no matter what. Remember, depression is a treatable mental disorder, it’s not something you can “catch” or a sign of personal weakness (John M. Grohol, Psy.D).
If you would like to read more about this topic especially from a theological perspective you can go to Sundayeveryday.me and read an interview from Dr John Drane on Suicide.
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