A death by suicide happens before the actual taking of life. It starts with a person not looking before crossing the road with the hopes that maybe the coming car would end it all. A person seeing a bottle of pills and wondering how many would do the trick. A person calculating the distance from the ceiling to the floor and wondering the right angle the rope will hold.
Suicide is the last straw for a person. The stage where all hope is lost and death seems like the best alternative.
In the world today, one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. This is very worrisome. When a death by suicide occurs, it leaves behind a lot of questions, one of which is how it could have been prevented.
Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions.
Major warning signs for suicide include talking about killing or harming oneself, talking or writing about death or dying, and seeking out things that could be used in a suicide attempt, such as weapons or drugs. These signals are even more dangerous if the person has a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder, suffers from alcohol dependence, has previously attempted suicide, or has a family history of suicide.
A more subtle but equally dangerous warning sign of suicide is hopelessness. Studies have found that hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicide. People who feel hopeless may talk about ?unbearable? feelings, predict a bleak future, and state that they have nothing to look forward to.
Other warning signs that point to a suicidal mind frame include dramatic mood swings or sudden personality changes, such as switching from outgoing to withdrawn or well-behaved to rebellious. A suicidal person may also lose interest in day-to-day activities, neglect his or her appearance, and show big changes in eating or sleeping habits.
If one notices these signs with friends or loved ones, talk to them. Giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt.
Ways to start a conversation about suicide:
- I have been feeling concerned about you lately.
- Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.
- I wanted to check in with you because you haven't seemed yourself lately.
Questions you can ask:
- When did you begin feeling like this ?
- Did something happen to make you start feeling this way?
- How can I best support you right now?
- Have you thought about getting help?
What you can say that helps:
- You are not alone in this. I'm here for you.
- You may not believe it now, but the way you're feeling will change.
- I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.
If a friend or family member is suicidal, the best way to help is by offering an empathetic, listening ear and support them by encouraging them to get professional help.
Written for Hellocare by Nusaybah Abdul Fattah