Suicide is a sensitive matter for many, and is complex public health issue across the globe, awareness is key for resolving the rate of suicide and helping those in dire need. The World Health Organisation estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds (WHO,2017) this is 800,000 more people than there should be.
So why do people attempt or commit suicide? the most common reason is severe Depression, The pain of living is sometimes too much for those living with Depression, and Depression often impacts decisions and thoughts made by the individual, these distorted thoughts are not the individuals fault, and they should never be blamed for them. Also another reason an individual may attempt suicide is due to the fact that they’re psychotic. Often inner voices command self destructive behaviours which results in self harm or in worse cases suicide, Psychosis is treatable and usually has to be for a Schizophrenic to function at all . Thirdly the individual may just be crying out for help and support, these individuals typically don’t want to die, or to end their life (These individuals will often use methods that they think do not promise death) however they feel as though doing so is the only way that they are going to gain the support that they so badly need, and individuals should not be viewed in a bad manner for this, it just shows how much more work needs to be put into raising awareness for both suicide and mental health.
Sometimes there are obvious signs that someone is at risk of attempting suicide, however this is not always the case. Some of the high risk warning signs include:
- Individuals threatening to hurt or kill themselves
- Written pieces about dying, suicide or self harm
- Individuals who actively look for ways to kill themselves such as stocking up on painkillers (NHS,2017)
There are also many physical and behaviour changes that may occur when someone is feeling suicidal these include:
- Changes to sleep pattern, either too little or too much
- Lack of energy
- Loss of interest in personal hygiene
- Loss of interest in appearance
- Extreme changes is appetite
- Weight gain, or loss
- Alcohol/Drug misuse
- Self harm
- Breaking the law
- Emotional outbursts
- Social isolation
If you notice someone displaying any of these behaviours, especially if they are out of character it is important to speak up, a good place to start is by talking to those around you. Talking to friends and family about suicide can be difficult as suicide is such a sensitive matter and is not widely discussed, however it is the first step to gaining help and support. As well as this there is support available from charities and organisations in your local area, these organisations often offer professional help however can not make diagnosis. If you believe that the risk of the individual committing suicide is high you need to asses the risk. Those at the highest risk of committing suicide will often have a plan, constructed of three main ideas; the means to carry out the plan, a time set for doing it and an intention to do it. The following questions can help to asses the immediate risk:
- Do you have a suicide plan? (Plan)
- Do you have what you need to carry out your plan (pills, gun, etc.)? (Means)
- Do you know when you would do it? (Time Set)
- Do you intend to take your own life? (Intention)
A low risk would mean that there are some suicidal thoughts however no suicide plan is set up and the individuals says that he/she will not commit suicide.
A moderate risk would mean that suicidal thoughts were present and that a vague plan was put together however the individuals says he/she will not commit suicide.
A High risk would mean suicidal thoughts were present, and a specific plan that is highly lethal is put into place however the individual says he/she will not commit suicide.
A Severe risk would mean suicidal thoughts and a plan is constructed that is highly lethal and the individual has said that he/she will commit suicide. (Helpguide, 2016)
If the suicide risk is imminent Call 999 (UK) or 911 (US) or take the individual to the nearest emergency room. Additionally, remove all possible weapons, sharp objects or possible objects that could be used to cause harm to themselves or others. Please do not leave the suicidal individual alone.
Suicide is serious, and unfortunately is more common than you may think for, but this can change by raising awareness and offering a helpful hand. Below i have attached some useful link where information and support can be gained! Stay strong, and stay happy!