• EWAD UK

World Suicide Prevention Day 2021

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

It is reported that One in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide. It is the fourth leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds. Suicide knows no class and 77% of global suicides occurs in low- and middle-income countries. The global suicide rate is over twice as high among men than women and over half (58%) of all deaths by suicide occur before the age of 50 years old.

Suicide can affect everyone. Each and every suicide is devastating and has a profound impact on loved ones. However, by raising awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide and encouraging well-informed action, we can reduce instances of suicide around the world.



World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide and to promote action through proven means that will reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts globally.


While the link between suicide and mental disorders (in particular, depression and alcohol use disorders) is well established in high-income countries, many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up, loss of a loved one, loss of a job or chronic pain and illness.


What does it mean to be suicidal?


Suicidal feelings can be confusing, frightening and complicated. They can range from having general thoughts about not wanting to be here to making a plan about how and when you could end your life. You might feel less like you want to die, and more that you want the pain to stop.


You might feel:

  • hopeless or trapped

  • tearful, anxious or overwhelmed by negative thoughts

  • desperate

  • tempted to do risky or reckless things because you don’t care what happens to you

  • like you want to avoid other people




What can make someone want to end their life?


Suicide is complex and there is no single explanation of why people die by suicide. There are many different risk factors, including: previous suicide attempts, or previous self harm. Many people who self-harm do not want to die. However, research shows that people who self-harm are at higher risk of attempting or dying by suicide


  • being unemployed

  • having a physical health problem, including chronic pain

  • living alone

  • being dependent on alcohol or drugs

  • having mental health problems.


So look again at the list above, do you know anyone who falls into the above category? When last did you check on them?


HOW TO OFFER HELP


Suicide is a serious public health problem; however, suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions.


It is common knowledge that with the use of so many mobile devices, one to one interaction is becoming history and we are no longer aware of changes in the action or inactions of those close to us or around us. With the growing crisis in the world not to mention the ongoing COVID19 situation, we need one another more than ever before. Simple actions can help support someone who is suicidal or recovering from an attempt to take their life.


Just asking someone if they’re suicidal can help. Asking directly about suicide gives someone permission to open up and lets them know they’re not a burden. If someone feels suicidal, it can be a huge relief to talk about how they feel, this may be the first step in recovery.


If a friend or someone does share their suicidal feelings with you, it’s usually best to listen (don’t be judgemental either in words or by facial expression! Try to respond with open questions, rather than advice or opinions. You don’t have to solve their problems: just offer support and encourage them to talk, if you can. Please give your undivided attention and intentionally get rid of any distractions. Remember, this is a precious life you may be able to help turn around.


It can feel difficult to start this conversation but start with everyday events like the weather. There are limits to the support you can provide as a friend and you need to take care of yourself. Give yourself time to rest and process what they’ve told you or what’s happened. It’s ok to decide you can’t help someone or need to step back for a while. Try to help them create a support network of other friends, relatives and mental health professionals who can help them too.




Your friend may also need help with practical things, such as calling their GP, contacting family and friends, or simply watching TV with them or doing an activity together. You could also help them make a safety plan when they feel able to. In a crisis, this can help them remember ways to cope and people to contact.


It’s important to know when to get professional support for someone you’re supporting. You could suggest they contact one of the organisations listed below if living in the UK.


  • Samaritans offers a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week support service. Call them free on 116 123. You can also email jo@samaritans.org. Samaritans has practical tips on dealing with suicidal feelings.

  • CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) has a helpline (5pm – midnight) and webchat for anyone who’s having a tough time and needs to talk.

  • Papyrus supports people under 35 who have thoughts of suicide and others who are concerned about them. You can call their HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org. They’re open every day from 9am to midnight.

  • Maytree offers free residential stays in London for people who are feeling suicidal.

  • Support After Suicide offers practical and emotional support for people bereaved or affected by suicide.


Author

Mrs Elizabeth Umoke

Chair of EWAD UK


References

Small Talk Saves Lives | Campaigns | Samaritans

Crisis care | Mental Health Foundation

WSPD2021 - IASP

Suicide (who.int)

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