Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among youngsters. What’s so sad is that this loss of life is preventable, yet many of us fail to take it seriously. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking action. If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, there are ways to actually prevent it.
Identify the Signs
The first step is to recognize the warning signs displayed by a suicidal person:
- Not taking part in activities once enjoyed
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Extreme mood swings
- Talking about suicide or death
- Considering themselves a burden
- Giving away possessions
- Feeling hopeless
You should take every suicide threat or attempt seriously because you never know when someone could be on the verge of taking their own life.
Don’t Ignore Them
You may believe that their problems are silly or not serious enough; however, the important thing to consider is how grave they are for the person in question. If they think it’s significant for them, you shouldn’t neglect their feelings or consider their opinions invalid.
Suicide Is a Desperate Scream for Help
When someone tries to attempt suicide or talks about it, they do not necessarily want to end their life. It could be a cry for help and a pointer that they are in immense emotional pain. They just don’t know how to express it and deal with it. Thus, to them, suicide seems like the only option to get away from their situation.
Having the ability to listen actively is a gift. Talking to a friend can help unburden some of the load of their worries and provide relief. Sometimes the unbearable pressure can lead to suicide while the loved ones are left only to know that the person needed someone to talk to. Avoid focusing on quick fixes by saying ‘have you tried any X, Y, Z’ as these attempts may come off as insensitive.
Offer Your Support
It is quite likely that the person had been depressed for a very long time, even though most suicides come out of the blue. If you notice any signs of depression, you should motivate and encourage the person to seek help immediately. Take away the stigma around depression and offer support that the person needs to save their own life.
Ask Them How They’re Feeling
One of the reasons people feel reluctant about asking this question is because they’re afraid they might put the idea of suicide in their heads. However, the truth is that the thought of suicide is already in their heads. On the other hand, you will be giving them an opportunity to open up and talk to you about how they’re feeling.
If you believe that someone around you is in imminent danger of taking their life, don’t leave them alone; instead, get them the help they need. Take steps to get them away from any means that they could use to harm themselves. Call emergency services and offer support in any way you can.