Updated: Jun 21, 2021
Often you may not even know if a person sitting right beside you is feeling suicidal. Let’s face it, mental health has always been a topic that has been brushed under the carpet and one is expected to ‘get it out of their head!’ or ‘stop thinking about it’, when they reach out to someone when feeling suicidal.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), we lose close to 1 million people to suicide every year.
Scary, right? These numbers clearly indicate that we need to ‘get it in our heads’ that suicide is real. We need to ‘start thinking’ and get knowledge about how we can be more mindful of our words and actions, prevent suicide, and save a life.
But how would you know if someone is feeling suicidal?
Here are some of the signs that you can look out for, to know if someone is having suicidal thoughts:
They talk about suicide/self-harm, for example, ”I wish I didn’t exist.”
They seem to be hopeless of the future.
They are very occupied with thoughts of dying - for example, they write stories or poems about suicide or self-harm.
They are unexpectedly calling people or texting “goodbye” as if they are never going to see them again.
They self-harm (you can sometimes see the marks, too).
They take unnecessary risks as if they don’t care about their lives. For example, recklessly crossing the road without the fear of losing their life.
They isolate themselves or withdraw themselves from everything.
They seek means to hurt themselves. For example, collecting knives, razors, and other things that can be used to hurt themselves.
Once you recognize that a person is having suicidal thoughts, what’s next?
If you recognize a person with the signs mentioned above, talk to them. You might feel afraid or uncertain as to how they will react. But remember, it’s okay to worry, but it’s more important to have that conversation. Some ways through which you can start this difficult conversation are:
Telling them, “I am concerned about you, you haven’t been yourself for a while now”
Asking them, “Are you really okay?”
Telling them, “I wanted to check on you, how are you doing?”
Asking them, “Is there a specific reason for you to feel this way? ”
Asking them, “How can I make you feel supported?”
Telling them, “You are not alone, I am here for you. We are in this together!”
Telling them, “You matter!”
Telling them, “I am here for you.”
Telling them, “You deserve to live. Things will change and you will feel better soon.”
Asking them, “Have you considered seeking professional help?”
While talking to them, ensure that you are being yourself, you don’t act shocked, you tell the person that the conversation will remain confidential and avoid arguing with them or trying to belittle them.
How can you help prevent suicide?
If a person tells you that they are thinking about ending their life, no matter what, don’t leave them alone. Try to assess the immediate risk of suicide by getting to know if the person has a plan and the resources that they can use to hurt themselves. Try to remove all the objects that they can use to hurt themselves. Call a helpline number to extend immediate help to the person.
Offer help and support to a person having suicidal thoughts,
Suggest professional help - therapy,
Check on their mental health and ask them about how their therapy sessions are going,
Continue lending your support by giving them reassurance,
Encourage positive changes and try to be a part of these activities with them. For example, starting exercising, meditation, and healthy eating,
Create a plan or a safety net for them to go to when they feel suicidal. This safety net can have emergency numbers like that of a therapist, a helpline number, or contacts of some friends to call. You can also help them put in pointers to remind them to ground themselves and take deep breaths. However, it is important to understand that no efforts can replace professional help and therapy.
“Suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better.” -Anonymous
Your mental health matters as much as your physical health. Don't hesitate to take a step towards your mental well-being. If you’re looking at talking to a professional, book your Initial Consultation with us on https://www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a step towards bettering your mental wellbeing because you deserve it! Written by - Mahika Solanki