What do with someone who is Feeling Suicidal?
According to the World Health Organization, suicide was the 15th leading cause of death across the globe in 2012. For every successful suicide, there may be over 100 attempts that are not. The majority of all suicides occurred in areas of low or middle income. While suicide can occur at any age, in individuals age 15 to 20, it is the second leading cause of death according to WHO’s 2012 statistics.
What Causes Suicidal Feelings?
Several things can occur in a person’s life to make them feel suicidal. Normally, they will not go to anyone and proclaim, “I feel suicidal.” Individuals who contemplate suicide, in most cases, do so because they feel alone and hopeless. They do not feel as if they have anyone they can turn to who will understand their feelings or what they are going through.
A few of the most common causes of suicide include:
- Being bullied or attacked by their peers
- Lack of self esteem
- Feelings of isolation
- Loss of loved ones
- Break up of a relationship or friendship
No one really asks themselves, “Why do I feel suicidal?” It is often a feeling of hopelessness and isolation they just can’t shake. Feelings of depression can go on for long periods of time if a person does not exhibit outward signs. In some cases, the only people who may realize something is wrong are those who are extremely close to them and know their habits.
Noticing the Signs in Others
It can be extremely hard to notice the outward signs of suicide in others. Many people become so good at hiding behind their emotions, others may have no clue they are even depressed or upset. While some hide the signs quite well, others may offer small clues. If a person has recently experienced a life altering event, such as the death of a loved one, the break up of a relationship or has been deeply depressed, reaching out to them and watching for possible signs of suicide could save their lives.
A few of the most noticeable signs include:
- Talking as if they have no future
- Giving away their favorite possessions
- Not taking proper care of themselves (not eating, bathing or grooming themselves)
- Talking about death more frequently
- Missing work or school without a good reason
Some signs are more noticeable than others. Individuals may be so good at hiding their emotions that no signs may be apparent.
The important thing to remember that when a person does succeed at suicide, there may have been nothing anyone could have done to prevent it. Many people feel guilty for not recognizing signs or not being there when the person needed them. The fact is, the person made a choice. You may have been able to stop them once, but if they are truly intent on taking their own life, they will eventually do so. It’s not your fault.
Overcoming the Urge
Everyone has times when they feel low or depressed. It’s how they handle those times and whether or not they have a strong support system that determines whether or not suicide begins to become an issue. Feeling suicidal in the UK is no different than feeling suicidal in the United States, Mexico or China. Depression does not know color, gender, religion or culture.
Individuals who recognize the signs of depression should seek counseling if they begin to feel that they cannot handle certain situations on their own anymore. Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it shows a willingness to help yourself get out of a situation that you may not know how to handle on your own. It is empowering. This is especially true in cases of bullying. If you are feeling suicidal because of a bullying issue, seeking help will give you the tools you need to overcome the obstacles.
In 2013 in the United States, the most common method used by a person to take their own life was a firearm. Next, the second most used method was suffocation. Suffocation also includes hanging. Poisoning, drug overdose and death by cop are also used. It’s good to remember that if you believe a person may be contemplating suicide, they will use whatever means they have available to them. A teenager who does not have access to a firearm will more than likely choose another method.
What To Do When Feeling Suicidal?
Knowing what to do when you feel suicidal is important, not only for your sake, but for those who love and care for you.Suicide is not fun and games. It is permanent. There are several things a person can do when they begin to feel as if things are beyond their control. A few of them include:
- Talk to a friend of loved one
- Call a suicide helpline
- Talk to a pastor, reverend, priest or rabbi
- Take a break and go see a loved one in a nursing home
- Explore a hobby or try something new
- Avoid the use of alcohol or other drugs
While these things may not seem like they will help, anything that can divert a person’s attention away from their problems and onto something less stressful can help. A study from 2004 showed that almost 73 percent of suicides tested positive for various drugs or alcohol. Calling a suicide hotline has been proven to dramatically reduce feelings of depression and hopelessness.
What Can Be Done?
Feeling suicidal is both scary and frustrating. Many people who experience suicidal thoughts can talk themselves out of harming themselves. For others it isn’t so easy. The issues they face on a day to day basis can be so overwhelming, that they cannot face things on their own. Bullying is one of the biggest problems when it comes to suicide.
It is important to remember that when individuals who are feeling suicidal seek help, they are looking for answers that they cannot necessarily find on their own. They need a support system that not only offers strength, but also a source of comfort. Suicide hotlines can help if the person calls in. Staff members who man the phones at these hotlines are highly trained and capable of handling almost any situation that presents itself.
Suicide is a global problem. It occurs all over the world. Although the majority of suicides are reported in low to middle income areas, they do occur in wealthy areas as well. Suicide numbers do increase as income levels drop, but that does not prevent suicides from occurring anywhere at any time.
Because it is such a widespread issue, finding ways to help individuals who feel suicidal is beneficial. Anyone can make a difference simply by talking to someone who is visibly upset or emotionally traumatized. Individuals who truly want to make a difference can volunteer at local suicide hotlines. Intensive training will be offered that will be useful both at the call center and in every day life.
Learn to notice the signs of depression and find out what can be done to help those who seem to be emotionally upset. A kind word or a smile may be all a person needs to change the worst day of their life into something they can tolerate. If you feel a person may be having suicidal thoughts or feelings, reach out and offer assistance. Even small gestures can make a difference.
Individuals who work with suicide prevention, either on a professional or a volunteer basis, must remember that not all suicides can be stopped. Helping in whatever capacity possible is beneficial, but in certain instances, nothing can be done. Suicide is a choice. You cannot make a decision for another person. The most you can do is be as helpful as you can and offer to help them get the professional treatment they need.