Roughly 800,000 deaths per year are due to suicide, according to the World Health Organization. That’s about one person taking their own life every 40 seconds. However, when someone you know is contemplating suicide, you understand that you can’t just stand on the side. People with suicidal thoughts can be prevented from taking action, and there are some steps you can take in order to make a difference:
- Observe and Reach Out If anyone is planning to commit suicide, early intervention is critical. If you’re already aware of that person’s tendency to feel suicidal, take notice of any changes in their behavior. Here’s some telltale signs of suicidal behavior:
- Mood swings
- Lack of self-care
- Exhibiting risky behavior and substance abuse
- Profound loss of interest in life
- Sudden calmness
If you’re someone the person confides with, make the initiative to talk with that person about what’s bothering them. Your objective is to confirm if there’s a plan to attempt suicide and when it might happen.
- Give Your Full Attention Be present physically and emotionally when being with a person with suicidal ideation. Give them your undivided attention and listen very intently. Set aside other matters and delegate any other tasks to someone else, if necessary. When that person starts opening up, they may disclose details of a suicide plan. Make sure you try to keep this in your memory. You may be able to alert people who can better support or help.
- Be Sincere Help make sure that the person you are talking with is comfortable opening up to you by showing genuine empathy and care. Don’t take their issues lightly. If you find their feelings or views don’t resonate with you, keep yourself from making demeaning comments. It’s best to keep quiet and just listen attentively.
- Avoid Giving Unsolicited Advice Avoid giving unsolicited advice. You may mistakenly feel that you’re somehow obligated to lead the person to a solution. However, doing this may not work. Don’t assume you completely understand the person’s inner turmoil. Don’t even rely on the person’s statements completely because, at times like these, they aren’t able to see things in the right perspective.
- Don’t Leave Them Alone Stay beside the person as long as you possibly can, even when you know that they’re feeling better. Creating a situation where a person may feel alone could trigger harmful thoughts or emotions. Be there until professional help arrives or when other concerned people can accompany them.
- Seek Professional Help If you’re still able to talk to the person, carefully try to encourage them to consider receiving professional support. If the situation is dire and the person is in danger, immediately call 000 or take them to the nearest emergency facility. It’s also advisable to keep a suicide prevention hotline in hand, such as Lifeline, they can give professional mental help and guidance for the person in need.
Giving constant support to a person who is going through a difficult time is important in preventing the worst from happening. You’ll need a lot of patience and care in dealing with any of the emotions that are disclosed to you. Please don’t forget to also take care of yourself.
For anyone requiring support please contact Lifeline on: 13 11 14