I only ever seem to use this blog or any blog now when it’s a national something relating to mental health day, so I thought yet again I would reboot it for this week.
So, let’s talk about suicide.
Suicide rates in the UK rose 11.8% in the last year, 6859 people took there own life. I don’t know if I agree that all suicide is preventable, but if that is the case that’s almost 7000 deaths that could of been prevented. In America alone over a million people attempted suicide. it’s easy to talk about statistics and numbers but each number counted was a person, a person who somebody lost, who somebody cried over.
Suicide prevention will always be a cause close to me and in the years I have been writing about it on various platforms, or talking about it with people, luckily I have seen reactions change. A lot of people are less embarrassed, more willing to engage in conversation, but there are still a lot of myths that people hold on to. So for day 1, let’s look at some of them.
1- People who are suicidal just want to die.
A lot of people who think about suicide don’t just want to die (some do), most are going through something or are feeling something that they need to stop and don’t know how to else to make it stop. Normally suicide isn’t the first thing that’s thought about, it is the last thing and they have tried everything else they can think of. “The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have. The distinction may seem small but is very important. It’s why talking through other options at the right time is so vital.”
2- talking about suicide might put the idea in someone’s head.
Talking about suicide in a constructive way will not make someone suicidal. If they are thinking about suicide they would of done before you mentioned spoke about it. Talking about suicide will not take someone’s life, but being embarrassed or not wanting to talk about it might make someone feel more alone. A lot of the time someone who feels suicidal will not talk about it for fear of the reaction they will get, what people might think of them or how it will make the other person feel but by initiating the conversation you give someone the chance to be open about how they feel.
3- only mentally ill people think about suicide.
Many are, and at the point where suicide is thought about most are seriously ill. However life events or other stressors can be a trigger without a prediagnosed mental health condition.
4- when someone survives a suicide attempt, it is going to be OK.
Someone surviving a suicide attempt does not mean they are no longer suicidal. Recovery takes a long time and is a journey, it is rare that someone will “snap out of it.” In most cases when someone survives but does not receive the right support they will try again.
5- as long as I’m supporting them they will be Ok.
People need other people, they need friends or family or people they can rely on. But that is not enough and professional help needs to be sought. Particularly when someone appears out of control or is acting in a way that might make you think about if they have capacity to ask for help or not. Being the friend supporting someone who is ill or contemplating suicide is difficult and may mean you have to make decisions like calling for professional support or using emergency services.
6- Suicide is impulsive.
In some cases it is, particularly when particular mental illnesses are a contributing factor but some people think about it for a long time or plan it or try to make logical reasons to why or why not. Each is as serious as the other.
See you tomorrow.
Because tomorrow is better with you in it.
Remember, if someone is in crisis and at serious risk of harming themselves or someone else, use 999.