Suicide is a very real issues for many people every year. Even people who have never attempted to commit suicide can still suffer from suicidal thoughts and suicidal tendencies. While this is a global problem, you should know the impact it has on Australians as well as what you can do about it.
Who Does Suicide Effect?
The truth of the matter is that anyone can be suicidal. It does not matter how much money you make, where you are from or even how many friends you have. Now this doesn’t mean that there are not people who are more likely to commit suicide than others. Here are a few stats you should know about this epidemic:
- Every day 7 people on average commit suicide. It is rare for the person to be 14 or younger but the numbers among adolescents are on the rise.
- Suicide is the second largest killer for young people in Australia. Only motor vehicle accidents account for more deaths.
- While teen suicide may have high rates, the rates are higher for people in their 20s and 30s.
- In 2012, 75% of people who committed suicide were males and 25% were females.
- People of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent have higher suicide rates. Males are 2.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the non indigenous population and females were 3.4 times more likely to commit suicide.
- An Australian study found that between 23% and 49% of all teens in the country have had suicidal thoughts at one time or another.
- Men in remote rural locations in Australia are twice as likely to commit suicide than those living in densely populated cities.
- Farmers have the highest suicide rate of any occupation in the country.
What Causes Someone to Commit Suicide
There are a number of different factors that go into suicide. The thing to keep in mind with this is that each case is different because every person is different. A good example of this is with farmers in Australia. The speculation as to their higher suicide rates is that they do not have the same access to mental health professionals combined with the isolation and traditional masculinity they feel they must uphold.Even though professionals can look at these theoretical factors, there is no evidence that supports that one leads farmers to commit suicide more than another aside from mental health issues.
Mental and emotional health issues are the common denominator when it comes to suicide. People who commit suicide often have at least one mental health issue they are struggling with. This is often seen with depression and anxiety though many other issues can come into play. The thing to keep in mind with this is that getting professional help is key to stopping suicide. Even if the person does not feel suicidal at the time, they can come to the surface at any time. All it takes is one attempt to die of suicide as not every person will be unsuccessful.
Addiction problems are another common factor among people who commit suicide. This can be to either drugs or alcohol. In fact, one study determined that people who suffer with alcohol dependence are actually six times more likely to commit suicide than those who do not have this. For this reason, workers in substance abuse programmes are being given more in depth training on how to spot the signs of suicidal behaviours to help prevent deaths. However, there are many people out there who simply will not seek help for their substance abuse problems and these people are just as vulnerable, if not more so, than someone who has gotten help.
According to Suicide Prevention Australia, the suicidal tendencies come from several different complicated effects. These include the social, situation and biological factors for a person combined with other influences. In the end, these factors cause the person to feel isolated and can take away any hope they had. They go on to say that the best way to tackle this issue is by understanding the risk people are at and putting protective measures in place for different groups.
The Most Common Suicide Methods
There are many ways that a person may commit suicide, though there are some ways that seem to be more prevalent than others. For instance, among women the most common method for suicide was hanging. The second most common way for women to do this was with poison or drug overdose. For men, the most common way they commit or attempt suicide is with drug overdose.
It is also important to note that while these statistics show the most common way people die with suicide it does not take into account the attempts people make to kill themselves. This can be seen with self harming or even deliberate attempts that simply fail.
How to Spot a Suicidal Person
It is important to know how you can spot someone who is suicidal. The chances of you going on to someone’s computer and finding a search on how to commit suicide is very unlikely (though definitely a sign that they need help). Most people who commit suicide keep their plans to themselves, which is why it can be hard to spot. Knowing what to look for can give you the information you need to help them before it is too late. Some of the thing you will look for are:
- Talking about suicide. Sometimes this may seem to be in a joking manner
- Having a fascination with death
- Becoming withdrawn and wanting to be by themselves
- Engaging in activities that are overly dangerous or self destructive
- Saying goodbye to people like they will never see them again
- Giving away belongings
- Changes in daily activity, especially sleep patterns
- Mood swings throughout the day or even severe mood changes from day to day
- Developing personality changes, especially someone that seems to suddenly be in higher spirits
- Anger and lashing out, especially for no apparent reason
- Feeling like they are trapped in a hopeless situation
If you notice any of these symptoms in someone you care about then you should get them help right away. There are a few things you can do. One is to contact the suicide helpline. While this is intended for people who are feeling suicidal, they can help give you the information you need and can get the person help.
Another thing you can do is talk with the person. Get to understand what is going on with them and get them the help they need. Even if you do not think you are close enough with a person to make a difference, remember that in many situations a person just wants to feel like someone out there is looking out for them. You do not know the difference you can make unless you try.
When you try to help someone through this, there are a few tips that you will want to keep in mind. To start with you will need to remember that the person may have barriers they think they are unable to cross. This can include the shame they feel and their reluctance to talk about the issue for many reasons, including not wanting the entire community to know. This is why it is important to give them your confidence and the trust they are looking for.
It is also important that you listen to all they have to say and do not try to tell them what to do. Sometimes just having a listening ear is enough to help them work through their problems. If you promise to do something, make sure that it is possible for you to do so or you will risk losing that confidence you have gained with them.
Another thing to remember is to stand in their shoes. Sometimes it is easy to make assertions about what a person should do if you are not looking at things from their point of view. Along with this, you will also want to take the time to give them power over their situations. Help them to see their strengths that they can use to overcome this situation. Moreover, it is imperative that you are just there to support them. Even if you just take the time to spend with them until they can get professional help, this can be enough to get them through until that point.
Suicide Prevention- What You Should Know
There are a number of ways that Australia helps people who are contemplating suicide. One of the biggest programme out there is Suicide Prevention Australia. This is why they offer public education on the matter as well as community awareness and a list of different numbers that you can call. Their goal is to see the number of suicides at zero, which may seem like a lofty goal but with the resources they provide, it is not unimaginable. While this is the only organisation that covers the entire country there are other local and community based programme designed to help people in these situations.
With some of these programme, their vision overlaps with that of suicide prevention. One such example is Lateral Love Australia. This is an organisation that is designed to “share truthful information about the history of Australia, highlighting the deliberate impact of colonization, and the damage made to the Human Spirit regardless of race due the manifestations of lateral violence.” They do this by sharing suicide quotes and elderly wisdom that are inspirational as well as bringing awareness to issues in the community that deal with violence and suicide.
Calling a Suicide Hotline
Knowing where you can contact to get help is one of the most integral parts of both feeling suicidal and knowing someone you care about is feeling this way. Some of the numbers for the suicide hotline you should keep in mind with this are:
- If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of committing suicide, dial 000
- For online counselling with call back service call 1300 659 467
- For men who are looking for call back service the number is 1300 78 99 78
- The number for veterans who feel suicidal is 1800 011 046
- The number for Qlife is 1800 184 527
- The number for children who have suicidal tendencies is 1800 55 1800
When you call the number for someone else, there are some things you will want to keep in mind to help get them help as fast as possible. You will need to speak clearly and calmly. Make sure you can let them know the danger that the person is in without becoming aggressive. You will need to give them examples of your concern, such as what you have noticed about their behaviour or the things they have said that make you feel like they are suicidal.
From there you will need to give them a brief history of past self harm or suicide attempts if you know of them. Lastly, if for some reason they are unable to help you, make sure you find out who else you can call. You should never give up because there is nothing they can do.