It’s World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September. Since its beginnings in 2003, this incredible movement brings together organisations and communities from around the world to raise awareness about preventing suicides. It also works hard to address the stigma around suicide, and spread the word that suicide isn’t inevitable – it is preventable.
It’s a very worthwhile cause, especially when you consider that last year in the UK there were just over 5,200 suicides. All deaths that could have been avoided. We all have a responsibility to look out for loved ones at home, certainly, but what friends and colleagues in the workplace? Well, same goes for that. We spend a lot of time with these people, so it’s a good idea to be aware of the warning signs.
Some things to watch out for
· You might notice a drop in the quality of their work, appearance or hygiene. Do they look dishevelled?
· Can you see any rapid weight changes?
· In conversations, do they give the impression of hopelessness or helplessness. People can often give away their true feelings when chatting casually.
· Have you spotted any sudden changes in mood or behaviour that seem out of character? Perhaps he or she is quieter than usual, or more withdrawn.
Of course, it’s important to note that not everybody with suicidal thoughts will display these tendencies. But it is a good idea to be aware of them.
What to do if you see the signs
If you think you’ve seen some tell-tale signs, then what should you do? It’s tricky, because if that person is just feeling a bit down and no depressed, then you run the risk of looking like a busybody? Or interfering in their business? But wouldn’t you rather say something than stay quiet and hope for the best? Yup, thought so. Here’s a few things you can do if you think someone is struggling:
· Take the person to a quiet place for a chat, and bring up the subject. Perhaps say: “I’ve noticed you haven’t seemed like yourself recently. Is everything ok?”
· Give them a chance to explain, and listen. Just talking is often a positive release for suicidal people.
· Let them know you value them, and are concerned about them. Be compassionate and offer hope, but stay away from giving advice or solutions; it’s takes a trained psychologist or counsellor todo that.
For some people, ending their life seems like the only option open to them. But it doesn’t have to be like that. We believe there’s always another way. That’s why we’re proud to be involved with World Suicide Prevention Day.
Thanks for reading. In fact, It would be great if you could read it all again to familiarise yourself with the signs. It’s really important. It could save a life. Thank you.
If you’ve had suicidal thoughts, then there’s someone at Samaritans who can talk to you right now. Just call 116 123. There’s someone there every second of every hour of every day to listen.