Spotting the Signs before Suicide
Spotting the signs before suicide can be subtle, but they are often missed. I often hear people say that they did not see suicide coming, or had no idea a friend or loved one was even thinking about suicide. In fact, there are often signs which we either ignore, or dismiss.
We should never blame ourselves if a loved one takes their own life, therefore, it’s vital to get the help and support we need if this tragedy occurs.
Potential Causes of Suicide
Triggers leading to suicide may be also quite different for people. Firstly, Divorce, death of a loved one, job-loss or financial hardship may trigger thoughts of suicide. Secondly, mass trauma such as a fire or flood may trigger depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. Abuse whether sexual, physical or emotional can also be triggers.
Suicide may also be increased amongst those with long-term physical illness and injury.
How might these things look to us?
The signs that people are feeling suicidal might be a change in mood, they may be more angry, withdrawn or emotional than usual. Giving things away, or saying good bye in SMS, letters or phone calls. Risk taking can also be seen in some people thinking about suicide such as promiscuity, increased drinking or driving while drunk.
What can you do to help?
Patience and remaining calm are keys to opening up a conversation. If you aren’t confident to have this chat, then find someone who is.
Firstly, you need to clearly and calmly ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. Be very unambiguous, but non-judgemental about this.
Secondly, Do NOT minimise or dismiss their thoughts and words instead repeat back to them, and clarify. Showing you really understand what they have told you.
Finally, you need to tell someone, or have them tell someone. You cannot promise to keep it a secret. Experts such as Doctors, or even the Ambulance may need to be called. Call Lifeline 13 11 14 if you are unsure what to do, put it on speaker phone with the person.
You could offer practical help. Such as, cooking, cleaning, driving them somewhere. Give them hope and ensure they know you care.
Never underestimate telling them how much you care.
Step by Step Training offer accredited courses and mental health workshops for workplaces and individuals in Toowoomba.
Anyone can learn these skills. For more information contact us at Step by Step Training in Toowoomba, or use another mental health first aid training organisation in your city or town.
This video provides some useful tips on spotting the signs, and then basic information on how to get professional help and support for the person.
For more information and training in this area please contact us at Step by Step Training.
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