The stigma around Suicide and how to help someone you know.
The subject of suicide can be difficult for many to discuss openly, or even to reflect on individually in understanding the causes, implications, and why some may consider suicide as a viable option. Furthermore, the stigma and miscommunication regarding suicide is a contributing factor to its horrific impact on an individual and their loved ones. Considering this, we thought it would be best to present some thoughts on how to help anyone you think may be affected by the notion of suicide, and how to properly empathise and communicate with them.
First of all, it could be understandably misconstrued that someone you know contemplating the idea of suicide may not have issues serious enough to warrant committing suicide. However, what you need to remember is that this is a matter of perspective, these issues are serious to them, and should be addressed with the appropriate level of concern. For them, suicide may seem valid as a method of escape, so you should not in any way dismiss these feelings, threats or talks. Be sure to empathise and be ready to talk about what they are feeling and remember that one conversation is not the end of the matter, psychological and mental health issues like this take time to address and heal.
In a number of circumstances, an individual attempting to self harm or commit suicide is not necessarily doing so because they want to willingly end their own life, instead it could be a cry for help. They may feel in great pain emotionally or mentally and are looking for some form of catharsis. At the forefront of your own mind should be in making sure that the individual is assisted in getting the help they need, ensuring they do not feel powerless in their own life or the healing process and that they are in control. There are a large number of services available to help those with depression, suicidal thoughts and urges, and many other mental health issues in the UK alone, as well as internationally, such as:
- The Samaritans, Tel – 116 123, www.samaritans.org
- Shout, Text Shout to 85258, www.giveusashout.org
- Mind, MindInfoline – 0300 123 3393, www.mind.org.uk
- CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), Helpline- 0800 58 58 58, www.thecalmzone.net
- Papyrus, HOPELINEUK – 0800 068 4141, www.papyrus-uk.org
- ChildLine, Helpline – 0800 11 11, www.childline.org.uk
- YoungMinds, Helpline – 0808 802 5544, www.youngminds.org.uk
- Maytree, Tel – 020 7263 7070, www.maytree.org.uk
If you’re interested in any further advice or information on suicide prevention, please click here.