According to WHO, suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death in the age group of 15-29 year olds (WHO, 2019). This is a reality which we are facing however it is one which is rarely spoken about because of the taboo associated with suicide. The impact of suicide is large leaving those behind to wonder what might have gone wrong and whether one is to blame for the other’s actions. Despite the increase of completed suicide, there are means which can prevent suicide.
- Identifying those at risk – previous suicidal attempts is one the highest risk factors for a repeated attempt (WHO, 2019). Nevertheless, one might question the reason behind suicidal ideations and attempts. As a matter of fact suicide is a cry for help. It is an indication that a person has reached his/her limit and feels unable to cope with the situation. In most instances, this happens impulsively following multiple ideations. The individual contemplating suicide might be facing life stressors which s/he might feel are too much. These can include break-ups, financial issues, discrimination, bullying, sexual orientation issues, chronic illness, conflicts and isolation (WHO, 2019).
- Preventing suicide – Considering the risk factors one might wonder whether suicide is driven by other people. Individuals who in some way of another make the person feel like life is not worth living and thus loses hope. Thus, one of the first things one can do is keep in mind that as individuals we do not know what others might be going through. Try and be a little kinder, do not judge and take your time in listening to what the person needs. Treating those with signs of emotional distress and known mental health issues such as depression can also prevent suicide.
- Reduce the stigma – The associations with being suicidal is what keeps individuals from seeking help. Unfortunately we live in a world which is ready to judge and label those suffering from mental health issues as ‘crazy’. When one commits suicide, it is something which will be unspoken of because the person has created shame on the family. It is a sin which goes against religion and which people fail to understand. Rather than being judgemental we should let them know that they can receive the help and support that they need. There are individuals who are specialised and specifically trained to work with people contemplating suicide. They are professionals who are ready to listen through one’s troubles and engage in processing one’s feelings and emotions. Nevertheless, this will not be possible prior to reducing the stigma. First, as a population we need to be understanding, we need to understand that these problems are real and that this is a cry for help (WHO, 2019).
Suicide is real, it is a problem which society is facing and which can be prevented with showing some compassion and kindness, recognising early signs of emotional distress, seeking help in a timely manner and providing a non-judgemental approach.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on suicidal ideation you can reach out here.
Yasmine Bonnici graduated in Nursing and also completed her Masters in Counselling. She has worked with victims of domestic violence, clients dealing with suicidal ideations, bereavement, separation and anxieties. She is currently working with Willingness Team as a counsellor seeing clients who would like to explore their own identity and deal with any surfacing issues.
WHO. (2019). Suicide. Retrieved 11 May 2021, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide