Hope is something that seems out of reach for people who are suicidal. But the message of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is hopeful. The theme this year is ‘Creating Hope Through Action.’ Each one of us can offer help and hope to someone who is struggling.
Suicide: It’s complicated
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 1 in 100 deaths in 2019 were the result of suicide. That’s countless lives lost and countless families and friends who have been left devastated. There’s a lot of complexity behind these statistics. The reasons why people feel suicidal and go on to commit suicide are complex. Mental illness and traumatic life events are common factors, and the effects of the pandemic have worsened things for many people who are struggling.
But there is hope. All of us can help someone see that suicide is not the only way out. We can all be that light in the dark for someone, whether they’re a stranger, a friend, a colleague, or a family member.
How to offer help and hope to someone who’s suicidal
World Suicide Prevention Day is on 10th September and it aims to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and encourage well-informed action around suicide. If someone tells you that they feel suicidal, it can be hard to know what to say. You might be afraid of saying the wrong thing, but sometimes, helping someone is not about saying something, it’s just about being there for them. Here are some ways that you can offer help and home to someone who is feeling suicidal*.
* If someone is in immediate danger, call 999 immediately.
Reach out to them
Suicidal feelings can make people withdraw at a time when they need help the most. This is why it’s so important to reach out to someone you think might be struggling. You don’t need to try and ‘fix’ their problems, just make the time and space to listen to them. Don’t worry about talking about suicide in front of someone who is suicidal, it’s a myth that it makes them more likely to take their lives. In fact, it’s not talking about how they are feeling that’s a lot more harmful. Text, call, meet for coffee-any kind of connection helps.
Seek to understand suicide
Stigma around suicide is often caused by misinformation. It can discourage people who are struggling from saying how they feel. If we educate ourselves on the facts around suicide and treat people with compassion and empathy, they are more likely to come forward and ask for the help they need.
Encourage people to share their experiences
One of the most powerful ways to offer hope to people who are feeling suicidal is to encourage people with lived experience of it to share their stories. This can help people see that there is hope of a life beyond these feelings or even suicide attempts. Helping people who are struggling to feel seen and understood is so important.
What would you do?
If you, a stranger, a colleague, or someone you love was struggling with suicidal feelings, would you know what to do?
When it comes to suicide prevention, education is one of our most powerful weapons. It can improve awareness and understanding, reduce stigma, and make you feel more equipped to help someone who needs it.
Our Adult Mental Health First Aid Two Day online course is running in October. The course will help you understand more about mental health, including the symptoms of mental ill health and spotting the signs that someone is struggling. This can be the first step to getting someone the help they need.
If you want to help reduce stigma around mental health and have the confidence to step in and help someone with a mental health issue, this course is invaluable. The more educated we become around mental health, the more equipped we are to offer help and hope to those in need. Even when it seems like hope is in short supply.
For more information on any of our courses, get in touch.