Do you have suicidal thoughts? You’re not alone. In fact, one out of five people experience them in their lives. But there are ways to help yourself.
World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10. This day raises awareness about mental issues that millions of people across the world suffer from. World Mental Health Day is organised by the World Federation for Mental Health. The theme for World Mental Health Day 2019 is suicide prevention. According to the World Health Organisation, every 40 seconds someone loses their life to suicide. Depression, anxiety, and stress are all detrimental to your mental health. They can also affect your physical health by causing high blood pressure and obesity. Poor mental health can have a negative impact on your day-to-day life as well.
Causes of suicidal thoughts
There can be many causes of suicidal thoughts. People usually get suicidal when they cannot cope up with their daily lives. A tragic event, financial loss or burden, unhealthy personal relationships are also common causes of suicide. It is when people don’t see hope for their future that they end up being suicidal. People think killing themselves solves their problems. According to MayoClinic, people who get suicidal thoughts may have a genetic link to it. People who commit suicide are more likely to have a family history of suicide.
Suicidal thoughts can occur to youngsters as well. Entrepreneur and director of JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Akshara Dalal shares a personal experience of the stress that youngsters today are going through.”The socio-economical contrasts, stress from never-ending demands for better performance in academics, sports, etc., relentless temptations in the physical and digital environment via social media/ dark web, impending environmental threats have never been higher. This has resulted in the extremely stressed, exhausted young generation,” she says.
In such times, it has become nothing short of important to talk about mental health and thoughts about suicide, which are likely to occur in the younger generation. Look at the warning signs that a person is suicidal.
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Warning signs that someone may attempt suicide
We are going to talk about 7 warning signs and causes of suicide
Total Time: 20 minutes
Extreme mood swings
Mood swings are a sign of unsettled emotions, says psychologist Niharika Mehta. Instead of passing judgments or trying to stay away from someone who exhibits extreme mood swings, try to support him/her.
Feeling hopeless and helpless
People get suicidal when they feel hopeless and helpless. It is when they feel that nothing around them matters and so is their presence in this world that they end up getting suicidal thoughts.
Unusual sleeping patterns
Sleep does not come easy to those who are sad, depressed and extremely stressed. Or, they might sleep more than usual. You should take this as a warning sign that a person might get suicidal thoughts.
Behaviours such as excessive drinking or smoking, breaking laws, being rebellious, starving oneself or eating excessively unhealthy or allergic foods, constantly getting into fights and arguments, e.g. are passive self-injurious behaviours that may be a warning sign of suicidal thoughts.
Alienating yourself from social gatherings
A person who gets suicidal thoughts will feel exhausted emotionally and will try to alienate from social gatherings. Social situations could be a reminder of their problems and emotional pain. To avoid feeling more negative emotions, people isolate themselves.
Alcohol and drug
Engaging in reckless behaviors, including excessive alcohol or drug consumption.
Expressing rage or intentions to seek revenge.
What increases the risk of suicide?
There’s usually no single reason someone takes their own life. Several factors can increase the risk of suicide, such as having a mental health disorder.
Aside from mental health conditions, other factors that increase the risk of suicide include:
- poor job security or low levels of job satisfaction
- history of being abused or witnessing continuous abuse
- being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, such as cancer or HIV
- being socially isolated or a victim of bullying or harassment
- substance use disorder,
- childhood abuse or trauma
- family history of suicide
- previous suicide attempts
- having a chronic disease,
- social loss, such as losing a significant relationship
- loss of a job
- access to lethal means, including firearms and drugs
- being exposed to suicide
- difficulty seeking help or support
- lack of access to mental health or substance use treatment
- following belief systems that accept suicide as a solution to personal problems
Those who have been at a higher risk of suicide are:
- who are men
- people over age 45
How to talk to someone who is feeling suicidal thoughts?
If you suspect that a family member or friend may consider suicide, talk to them about their concerns. You can begin the conversation by asking questions in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way.
Talk openly and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions, such as “Are you thinking about suicide?”
During the conversation, make sure you:
- stay calm and speak in a reassuring tone
- acknowledge that their feelings are legitimate,
- offer support and encouragement
- tell them that help is available and that they can feel better with treatment
Make sure not to minimise their problems or attempts at shaming them into changing their minds. Listening and showing your support is the best way to help them. You can also encourage them to seek help from a professional.
Offer to help them find a counselor, make a phone call, or go with them to their first counseling appointment.
It can be frightening when someone you care about shows suicidal signs. But it’s critical to take action if you’re able to help. Starting a conversation to help save a life is a risk worth taking.
Conclusion and take away
Today, many organisations and people are working hard on suicide prevention, and there are more resources available than ever. No one should have to deal with suicidal thoughts alone.
Whether you’re a loved one who’s concerned about someone or you’re struggling yourself, help is available. Don’t keep silent. You may help save a life.
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