Suicide Prevention Day
There are few more deafening sounds than that left behind by a partner; lost to suicide.
Every 40 seconds that sound is heard somewhere in the world, according to the WHO who estimates around 800,000 people take their own lives every year. It is considered a global pandemic by many governments.
But those numbers only represent the people who carry it out and are successful in their attempt. In the US alone it is estimated that over 10 million Americans think seriously about suicide, 3 million plan it and 1.4 execute the plan. Those numbers keep growing each year and that’s before the novel virus, COVID-19, struck us this year.
With numbers like these it’s no wonder Suicide is the third leading cause of death in young people. But what can we do it and how can we go about doing it?
Suicide prevention starts with a voice. Your voice. It starts with talking about suicide and removing the stigma that surrounds speaking about it. It begins with listening to the people around you and taking action when someone is struck by depression. And it ends with you saving a life with those small deeds.
However, not everyone is open about it and very few people recognize the need to talk about their emotions. That is why it’s important to be able to identify some signs that something is wrong and take action!
Does the person have alcohol or substance use disorder? Is he or she on medication for depression, anxiety or mood swings? Is there a history of suicide in the family?
All these questions can help us identify people who are at risk of contemplating and committing suicide.
According to a recent article published by the CNN, a few warning signs that your partner may be at risk are:
- Begins to search online for ways to kill themselves, such as buying a gun or obtaining medical prescriptions
- Increases their use of alcohol or drugs
- Sleeps too much or too little
- Starts to behave recklessly, such as driving while intoxicated or without a seat belt
- Appears agitated, expresses rage or talks about seeking revenge
- Has extreme mood swings, from euphoria to the depths of depression
- Appears to feel hopeless or talks about feeling trapped or having no reason to live
- Appears to be in unbearable psychologicalpain or talks about being a burden to friends or family
- Withdraws or isolates from others
If you identify one or more of these unusual behaviours in your partner or co-workers there are many things that you can do.
The first thing you can do is talk to them about it. It is a talk that no one ever wants to have but is amongst the most important you will ever need to have. Depending on where in the world you are your department or company may be able to provide phsychological help through trained professionals. You can also approach a religious authority such a chaplain or priest.
And last, but surely not least, you can call a suicide prevention hotline.
- Canada – 1-833 456-4566
- USA – 800-273-8255
To close this article I would like to emphasize the importance and the usefulness of reaching out to people. From someone who’s suffered from PTSD I can promise you that if you are going through a hard time you are not alone and that those that surround you, particularly your partner and co-workers, most definitely have got your back.
- Sandee LaMotte C. World Suicide Prevention Day: Here’s how to help [Internet]. CNN. 2020 [cited 10 September 2020]. Available from: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/10/health/world-suicide-prevention-day-2020-wellness/index.html
- Suicide across the world (2016) [Internet]. World Health Organization. 2020 [cited 10 September 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/
About the author:
Alejandro is a Volunteer TAMP (Basic EMT) in Mexico City with over 15 years in the field. He’s volunteered for organizations such as the Red Cross, has helped with massive incidents such as the earthquake of 2017, and was the Operations Director of Iberomed for nearly three terms.
On his spare time he enjoys playing the guitar, the ukulele and playing Dungeons and Dragons with his equally geeky friends.