Suicidal thoughts can effect anyone, without regard to gender or age. While it is a subject few wish to discuss, understanding the facts is the first step in suicide prevention Australia. Knowing what causes suicide, who it effects, and how to overcome suicidal thoughts could save a life.
Why Suicide Happens
For someone who has never contemplated suicide, it can be difficult to understand why a person would want to end their own life.
Usually suicide occurs as a result of extreme emotional pain. Rejection, bullying, guilt, and abuse are often the culprit of this pain. However, it is not always the case. According to Lifeline.org, those most at risk have:
- Suffered from long term and severe depression.
- Have attempted suicide in the past.
- Have a type of undiagnosed mental disorder.
- Suffer from addiction to drugs or alcohol.
- Have endured a major loss recently.
For someone who is dealing with any of these issues, it can seem overwhelming. The pain is unbearable, and they feel as if the only way it will end is with death. These feelings can also cause them to feel weak, unworthy, and confused. As a result they may fail to reach out to others for help out of fear that they will be perceived as “crazy,” or that no one will understand.
Facts About Suicide
Although suicides is most predominant in males, specifically the elderly, suicidal thoughts and tendencies can occur despite age and gender. According to a cause of death report released in 2012 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, every year 2,415 people die as a result of suicide. Of those 2,415 people:
- 1,901 were male
- 634 were female
- 37.6% were men 85 and older
Youth and Suicide
According to that same report, youth is also at risk. Between 15- 19 years olds suicide accounted for the death of:
- 21.9% of males
- 32.6% females
Signs To Look For
Suicide prevention australia begins with knowing what signs to look for. The signs that someone is contemplating suicide can often be subtle, which makes it easy to overlook. Often those who are having these thoughts feel they are alone in their battle, and that no one else could possibly understand their pain. As a result, they may never admit to another how they are truly feeling.
Though subtle, some of the signs to look for include the following.
The person says they feel hopeless and have no reason to live.
- People say things they do not mean sometimes, but for someone who has endured physical or emotional trauma, or who seems withdrawn and depressed, they very well may mean exactly what they say. Always take a statement such as this seriously.
The person seems suddenly preoccupied with death.
- If a person suddenly begins to talk about death, or otherwise seems preoccupied with dying, there is a good chance that they are having suicidal thoughts. While it is normal in some cases to discuss dying, someone who is preoccupied with it will talk about it more than is healthy or natural.
The person is displaying signs of depression.
- Mild forms of depression can happen to anyone. However, depression is also a major contributor to suicide. If a person suffers from severe and on-going depression they may be at risk for suicide. Signs of depression include:
The person talks about ways to end their life.
- Many who have suicidal thoughts may never discuss it, others may make statements about ways they will end their own life. It is even possible they will research the topic online,or attempt to purchase items such as firearms, knives, or pills to follow through.
Suicide Prevention In Australia
Suicide is a serious issue that with education can be prevented. If you, or someone you love is showing signs that they are contemplating hurting themselves, it is important to take action quickly. It can literally mean the difference between life and death.
What You Can Do To Help
- It is important to pay attention to the warning signs and take them seriously. Never presume that they are just going through a phase and it will pass. If you notice someone is displaying any of the signs listed above, take action immediately.
Talk to the Person
- It is a common misconception that talking to someone who is contemplating suicide may actually cause them to think about it more. Talking to someone about suicidal thoughts does help. Let them know you are concerned, and do not be afraid to ask if they are thinking about harming themselves.
Listen and offer support
- Make sure to take the time to listen as well. Allow them to share what they are feeling without judgment. Offering a listening ear can help the person feel less alone and will show that you care. Offer to help them in anyway possible and follow through.
Check on them regularly
- Never leave a suicidal person on their own. Check in with them daily, as often as you can. Talk with them, listen, and continue to offer support. Remind them that they are not alone.
Get them help
- Calling a helpline such as Lifeline at 13 11 14, or 000 can help you save the life of someone who is suicidal. Lifeline can help get a suicidal person the help they need to get through this difficult time. According to Lifeline.org if someone is in danger you should take the following steps:
- Ask them directly if they are having suicidal thoughts.
- If the answer is yes, stay with them and allow them to share how they are feeling.
- If appropriate, get them help by calling Lifeline.
Things You Should Avoid Doing
If a person tells you they are thinking of harming themselves, there are a few things you should never do. These include:
- Ignoring the person’s feelings or behavior.
- Withdrawing from the person.
- Tell them they are “crazy”.
- Make statements such as “You have so much to live for.” , or “Think of how it will hurt your family”.
- Keep the information a “secret” for them.
If You Are Contemplating Suicide
If you are having suicidal thoughts, do not keep them to yourself. Let others know how you are feeling, and call lifeline for additional help. Suicidal thoughts are serious, but you are not alone in this struggle. To help cope with suicidal thoughts you can do the following:
- Avoid using drugs or alcohol as this can lower inhibitions and make depression and suicidal thoughts worse.
- Make a promise to yourself that you will not do anything right now.
- Share your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. Never keep them to yourself.
- Remove anything from your home that you could use to harm yourself. If this is not possible stay with a friend or family member you trust.
Suicide prevention Australia begins with education. Learning what signs to look for and having the courage to reach out to a suicidal person can make a huge difference in saving their lives.