How to prevent suicide and help someone at risk?
TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE
Some narrations in this post may be triggering to certain individuals. Please do not read further if you are susceptible to being triggered by suicide-related topics. As a precaution, please do not read with no one around. If you are triggered, please seek professional care immediately.
Suicide. A letter, a note, a poem. That silhouette of youth hanging from a fan, on the ledge of a bridge, or in a bathtub with cut wrists. The epidemic that many fear but few want to discuss.
Suicide awareness isn’t a fun topic to chat about at brunch with the girls or to bring up at a family get-together.
Nevertheless, it’s an important crisis that is only made worse because of the stigma and lack of awareness surrounding it.
"The World Health Organization estimates that one million people die from successful suicide attempts per year, which amounts to one death every 40 seconds."
Suicide is now among the 3 leading causes of death for those aged 15 to 44.
This is a testimony to the fact that this is a large-scale problem and not a background social issue.
This is a topic I am extremely passionate about.
My view is “What if, they needn’t reach that stage? What if they were able to speak to a qualified practitioner to help clear their thoughts? Just imagine how much safer it would be to never allow such thoughts to enter their consciousness in the first place.”
What are the Leading Causes of Suicide?
Just as starvation leads to death because we do not have adequate nutrients in our body, suicide may be caused by insufficient emotional “nutrients” in our lives – companionship, love, respect, and other vital emotional requirements.
It may be said that the person is “starved” of these essential components of a healthy social life. This manifests as the trigger for suicide– grief, loss, depression, helplessness, and being overwhelmed.
Working mother Donita Packard recently attended a heart-rending funeral. Upon suspecting her husband of infidelity, a dear friend of hers committed suicide. According to the OECD, 55% of suicides are committed due to external factors of this sort.
The remaining 45%, it says, are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. That is, the person is inherently susceptible to being depressed, anxious, and suicidal – it is in their genes and has manifested in their brain.
What Do We Make of This?
What we find upon looking at the leading causes of suicide is that whether the person’s external environment or brain dysfunctions caused their suicidal tendencies, suicide is not the victim’s fault.
In her TEDx talk titled Casually Suicidal, Sarah Liberti describes how her best friend once said to her, “You’ve always known what I've thought about people who want to kill themselves: Let them. They’re weak. And we’re better off without them.” Sadly, this reaction is not uncommon. Often when seeking out for help, suicidal individuals hear statements such as “it’s all in your mind”, get over it”, or worst of all “suicide is sin”.
It has become normalized to treat suicide as voluntary action instead of a cry of desperation.
We see suicidal individuals as feeble instead of as those with just an inability to communicate the pain we all feel a certain degree.
It is time we stopped looking at suicide as a crime. It is time we looked at suicidal tendencies as the manifestation of deep emotional disturbances – an evil, of which the affected is not the culprit but the victim.
Prevention is better than cure. It is not until we acknowledge a problem that we can prevent it.
What Can You Do?
Referring to her friend, Donita shares, “I can identify with her pain because I myself have had suicidal thoughts. I was lucky enough to receive the care I needed. But my friend left behind a grieving family that only found out she needed help after it was too late.”
This story is not uncommon.
People with suicidal thoughts often do not talk about them.
They fear the stigma and discomfort surrounding the topic. As a consequence, innumerable patients do not receive adequate help.
This situation can only be prevented if we, as a community, begin working together to create a healthy environment around us for people to feel comfortable reaching out for help.
Here are the steps you could follow:
Talk to people about suicide. Educate them if you know something, reach out to them if they are sick, and ask for help if you need it.
Brushing away problems never solves them. Listen when suicide comes up, support those who’ve asked for your help and heed those who are helping you.
This is the most important component. Discussion without consequence doesn’t prevent suicide. Bringing the patient to wellness does.
If someone tells you they are suicidal, do not ignore it.
- Provide all the support you can as a friend.
- Ask them to see a professional. Getting a diagnosis and/or therapeutic help is essential for their situation to improve. Just as toothaches need Dentists, mental illnesses need Psychiatrists and emotional imbalance needs Therapists.
- Give them the suicide hotline number available in your respective country. Set it to speed-dial on their phone.
- Help them find a support group.
- If you happen to live with them, ensure that triggering, sharp, poisonous, or otherwise harmful objects are well out of their reach.
The first step is to get a diagnosis.
After, finding a modality of therapy that works for the particular individual in question is very important. Not all therapies work for everybody. While one kind of therapy might work for certain illnesses, other limitations might require another sort.
One modality that I have found works for all kinds of negative beliefs is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT is an incredibly powerful, clinically proven Tapping technology that helps clients release negative emotions and clear their mind to make way for constructive programs.
For those new to EFT, you can download a free booklet.
Learn how EFT Tapping heals
Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping) is clinically proven to lower stress, tension, anxiety, past-trauma to enable health, happiness and vitality.
When introduced to patients with suicidal tendencies, EFT can be a highly effective tool in ensuring that thoughts about ending one’s life are eliminated before they reach the consciousness. Thus, EFT can be used even before the susceptible person has suicidal thoughts to eliminate any risk at all! One of the best ways to learn EFT or become professionally qualified as a Practitioner is to attend an EFT Practitioner Training Program with a Certified Trainer.
The WHO predicts that by 2020 the rate of suicides will increase to one every 20 seconds.
Help prove them wrong.
Suicide prevention hotlines:
• India - AASRA – 022 2754 6669
• UK - Samaritans – 116 123
• USA - NSPL – 1-800-273-8255
• Australia - Lifeline – 13 11 14
If you know someone at risk, seek professional help immediately.
If you know someone who has lost a loved one as a result of suicide please get us in touch.
Emotional Therapy can help to overcome the past and be able to move on in a healthy and wholesome manner.
A good friend of mine lost her husband to suicide. It was traumatic for her, her children and their extended family. What was worse was her son was the first person to have discovered what had happened. No amount of therapy can turn back the clock and yet the sessions we had together allowed all the pain and hurt to be released. It allowed her to make peace with what happened and to be able to move on and rebuild her life.
In conclusion, a lot of suicides can easily be prevented by providing the right type of intervention.
It is important to keep our senses alert at all times to notice these tendencies among our loved ones and friends.
Catch it early! Let us help you.
Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD) with Ashni Acharya
P.S. - A lot of suicides can easily be prevented by providing the right type of intervention. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), helps eliminate stress, helplessness, anxiety, loss and low feelings that can trigger self-harming behaviours.
In summary, you can save a life by helping someone in need. Whenever you feel a person is going through depression and you sense negativity is taking over them. Don't ignore, talk to them, help them overcome it. Even if you can't help, get in touch with those who could.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is purely for educational purposes and does not in any way replace the requirement for medical and psychological diagnosis and treatment. Please do seek professional medical and psychological diagnosis and advice for all medical and mental health conditions. It is advised to always book any consultations with qualified professionals.
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