The 10th September is Suicide Prevention Day here in the UK, but how comfortable and confident are you with talking about suicide, if you are worried about someone?
According to Mental Health First Aid England, 5,668 people died by suicide in 2016 and three quarters were male. Most people who attempt suicide don’t want to die, but rather, want their pain to end and sadly believe that it is their only option.
How can I help someone I am concerned about?
Providing it is safe and there is no risk of imminent harm to yourself or others, find somewhere quiet, where you won’t be disturbed and let them know that you are concerned and that you are there to listen but don’t agree to keep a secret.
Listening without judgement is key here.
But I don’t want to put the idea of suicide in their head…
If you are concerned that someone you know is thinking of taking their life, asking them will not put the idea in their head. They will either say yes or no. Many people think about suicide at some point in their lives, but don’t have an immediate plan to do so. If the person is in this situation, let them know that you are there for them and encourage them to seek professional help, such as their GP.
If the person does have a plan and the means to do so, and they are at immediate risk, arrange for them to go to A & E. It could be that you go with them if appropriate, or make a 999 call.
Taking care of you
Never underestimate the impact of supporting someone in crisis on your own wellbeing. Make sure that you look after yourself after the event. Talk to someone, do something relaxing or that you enjoy, take time out.
Are you interested in finding out ways in which you can improve your own wellbeing, gain awareness about mental health, have confidence to start conversations and support others in crisis?
Mental Health First Aid England provide training from Mental Health Awareness through to Mental Health First Aid, in organisations and in the community. The Mental Health First Aid course offers a plan to support individuals in crisis, including suicide.
For suicide prevention alone, you can find an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) course.