"Amidst life's darkest moments, a glimmer of hope can be the beacon that saves a soul.”
According to WHO, every 40 seconds, someone, somewhere dies by suicide. The suicidal deaths in India
As an individual who is a bystander/friend/relative to someone struggling with thoughts about taking their life, there are ways in which you can help them get through this tough phase in their life. Hope through action is a call to action, initiated by WHO, to support the people struggling with suicidal ideation and those bereaved by suicide. In this blog, we are going to explore a few signs that we can use to detect the people who may be struggling with suicidal attempts or ideations and tips to get them the help they need.
Signs of Someone Struggling with Suicidal Ideation
Direct vocalising: Some people may joke or talk about suicide and killing themselves, it is important to not ignore these conversations. While they may or may not be harbouring active suicidal thoughts, it is important not to trivialize this. Talk to them kindly and encourage them to seek help with a mental health professional, accompany them/help them to get an appointment etc. Small gestures go a long way in showing them that you care.
Oversocialising/withdrawal from socialising gradually: It may not be obvious but people who were once socially active may begin to withdraw and go into a shell of their own or people who were not open to socialising earlier, begin to excessively socialise. When someone exhibits a polar opposite behaviour, it could be a significant indication that they are thinking about taking their life.
Exhibit appearance, personality and mood changes: People can observe certain changes in appearance wherein they either change the way they look or absolutely stop caring about their appearance. The person may also suddenly burst into tears or anger fits, tend to exhibit extreme mood swings, or instantaneous personality changes. These changes are often overlooked as lifestyle changes but these are potential indications of suicidal ideation.
Increased risk taking behaviour: Such behavioural changes can be seen in their everyday life such as driving rashly, crossing roads carelessly, or increasing substance abuse like alcohol or drugs, which were not previously part of the person’s regular behaviour. This indicates that the person has lost the hope to continue their life and is struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Preparations to part: A person who has decided to end their life makes preparations to leave behind their loved ones by expressing their feelings in various ways like contacting members of the family or friends and leaving them with words of gratefulness and support. This is a vital sign often overlooked by people unaware of the other person’s mental health state. This is their version of asking for help and is often misunderstood as a simple expression of love.
Preventive measures for People Struggling with Suicidal ideation
WHO's LIVE LIFE proposes four key interventions which are actively constructive:
- Restrict access to obtaining means of suicide
- Interact with media for responsible reporting of suicides
- Early identification, assessment, and follow up with anyone who has been affected by suicidal ideations
- Instil and foster socio-emotional life skills in adolescents
Remember, when someone dies by suicide, they leave behind a trail of people who are scarred by their action forever. With the help of these signs, we could be the saver of souls. We could help foster a world where the dark clouds of the mind are combated with simple acts of kindness and compassion. Let us take a step towards “Creating Hope through Action” and build a suicide-free world. Sometimes all it takes is an “I care about you” to save a life.
Still feeling lost and don’t know where to begin…
Here is what you could try if you suspect someone has Suicidal Ideation
- Listen without judgement and offer support(talking about suicide does not encourage it).
- Stay with them if they are immediate danger
- Encourage them to speak with a professional
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