Listen for the silence of suicide – World Suicide Prevention Day
Today is suicide prevention day which is a good way to raise awareness because there is a silence to suicide.
People that feel suicidal or deeply depressed often stay silent about how they are feeling
Each year, over 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. Every single one of the people in these statistics have felt that life is no longer worth living. But many of these people won’t have told anyone how they are feeling. Most people will have family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours but when they spoke to these people they didn’t tell them how unbearable they were finding their lives.
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I wonder why it is that people suffering emotionally so deeply feel they can’t share their feelings with anyone. There may be a number of reasons:
- They may be embarrassed to tell someone
- They may feel guilty for feeling this way
- They might not want to burden someone else with their problems
- They might think how they are feeling will go away on its own
Could you save a life?
The theme of the 2017 World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’ This means noticing is someone around you is struggling and checking in with them. You don’t have to have all the answers for them, just let them know you are there and you care. Offering a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgemental way can make all the difference.
There is no need for silence about suicide. The more open we are in society and communities about it, the more help it will be. .
People who have lived through a suicide attempt have much to teach us about how the words and actions of others are important. They often talk movingly about reaching the point where they could see no alternative but to take their own life, and about the days, hours and minutes leading up to this. They often describe realising that they did not want to die but instead wanted someone to intervene and stop them. Many say that they actively sought someone who would sense their despair and ask them whether they were okay.
The International Association For Suicide Prevention Society have spoken to suicide survivors who said if someone had asked if they were okay, they had decided to talk to them and accept their support. Sadly, they often reflect that no one asked.
Can you imagine saving someone’s life. Just by asking if they are ok? I mean REALLY ok?
You don’t need to be an expert of any kind to help someone. You just need to listen. Often that first opening up to someone is therapeutic to the person feeling suicidal will seek help or be open to seeking help after they have opened up. Its like they are a pressure cooker and they’ve let a bit of the steam out.
The smallest bit of compassion and empathy can be all someone delicate needs to feel that life is worth living.
Suicide affects more than just one life
Obviously it is extremely sad that anyone commits suicide but the pain they leave for those around them can live on forever. A suicide is shocking for all involved. Even if you don’t know someone very well, it can still be shocking and painful.
People left behind often spend years with very raw and painful emotions.
What makes people feel suicidal?
It is often an event like divorce or redundancy that can really bring someone down. Or stress or depression just becomes unbearable. It is so important to look after your mental health and seek support if you feel you need it. Seeking help can make a tremendous difference to how you feel.
The stats around suicide
- Suicide is the 15th leading cause of death globally, account for 1.4% of all deaths and
- The global suicide rate is 11.4 per 100 000 population
- More males 15 in 100,000 are affected than females 8 in 100,000
- Suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged 15-24 in many European countries
- Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide
- 50% of individuals in high income countries who die by suicide have major depressive disorder at their time of death
- For every 1 suicide 25 people make a suicide attempt
- 60 people are affected by each suicide death. This equates to 48 million people bereaved by suicide worldwide every year
This World Suicide Prevention Day and everyday take a minute to reach out to someone – this can change a life
You might choose to Light a Candle near a Window at 8 PM to support World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 to show your support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost loved one, and for the survivors of suicide.
The Samaritans are an excellent source of support if you need to talk to someone. Their number is 116 123. You do not need to suffer in silence.
Finally, if there is anyone you are concerned about, take a minute to check in with them. It could change their life.
Sending you healing and compassionate vibes.