One person dies due to suicide every 40 seconds. By the time you will finish reading this article, 6 lives will have come to an end. Suicide is the second cause of death for young people from low- and medium-income countries.
Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, we are here to address this worldwide phenomenon. Humans haven’t yet discovered how to reanimate deceased people, so in this case, it’s better to focus on safety than to regret later. So what can be done in order to help?
There are still a lot of misconceptions about suicide which can make the difference between life and death.
- `If they talk about it, they won’t do it.`
- `They are just seeking attention.`
- `I’ve had it worse and I’m still here. They don’t know what they’re saying.`
All these affirmations are, of course, false, and help maintain the stigma around mental health issues. Public information campaigns run by therapists, psychiatrists, and medical doctors could change the general view and also encourage those in need to seek assistance.
Treatment should be affordable and available to everyone. As previously stated, vulnerable people are young, without a steady income, therefore the authorities should cover the costs and help them recover.
The society needs to acknowledge the ugly truth: suffering is all around us. Behind a smile, behind a seemingly happy family life, behind productivity. Once it accepts that, the hard work can begin and it starts with each one of us. If you are wondering how can you contribute to suicide prevention, here are some ideas.
The first step is to educate yourself about the World Suicide Prevention Day
It’s important to be willing to accept that people see the world differently. Leave behind your religious misconceptions, personal superstitions, and your egocentric point of view and do some research.
You can do this by reading or better yet! You can volunteer to work with people who had suicidal thoughts or failed attempts. Simply listen to their stories. The most common aspects that lead to suicide are genetics, a history of abuse, unfavorable life conditions, and (mental) health issues such as seasonal depression. Some of them feel they hit rock bottom and the only way to end the suffering is to end themselves as well. It’s their right to feel that way.
And it’s their right to be helped
… so the least you can do is to turn on the light at the end of the tunnel. Notice any changes in their activities because it might be a sign that things are going bad again. If you haven’t heard from somebody for a while, give them a call and try to set up a meeting if it’s possible. A little gesture can go such a long way!
Be open to discussion and don’t shy away from asking questions. It might be uncomfortable, but it’s a threshold you must cross for their sake. Ask how they are feeling, what they are thinking about, if they have any plans for the near future. These can help you assess the situation and understand the person’s needs.
If you feel the situation might get out of hand, try to limit their access to potentially harmful objects. Don’t let them alone under any circumstances. Be their safe spot until the storm passes. You can also contact a mental health specialist for advice and support.
Let me tell you something
If you’re out there and you feel you can’t do this anymore, know this: you deserve a painless life. You are not your sorrow, or your past, or what you might think of yourself. Please be safe today. Maybe tomorrow you will try to talk to somebody. It could be a person you feel comfortable with or simply somebody who will listen. Here is a list of hotlines you can call no matter where you live. You don’t have to battle this alone.
Remember. There is a single day devoted to suicide prevention, but the struggle is constant and so have to be our efforts. We have to educate ourselves. Observe. Reach out to those who are unable to. Most of all, we must be kind to everybody because we don’t know what they are going through.