“2015 is about understanding the positive impact that reaching out to people at risk of suicide can have.”
Do you know someone in need of a helping hand?
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, an annual campaign organised by the International Association For Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The campaign’s main aim is to save more lives by helping those who are suffering from severe depression and preventing them from taking their own lives. It is also about making others, friends and family members aware about what they can do to help those in need. It can be extremely difficult to know what to say to people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts. Many of us worry that we will say the wrong thing or make things worse, often preventing us from doing anything.
So today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, why not take the time to understand more about what leads a person to suicidal thoughts, and crucially, what you can do to help if you are ever faced with a situation where you feel you need to step in.
One of the biggest things you can do to help is simply to ask “Are you ok?” Such a small and simple question can make a big difference to those in need as it shows you care. In their experience, the Samaritans have found that this alone can be enough to bring a person out of suicidal crisis. It can also be a very effective catalyst in encouraging someone to open up and talk about how they are feeling. You can help spread this important message on Twitter by using #RUOK.
Make Small Gestures
If people don’t feel like talking about their emotions right away, you can show your support in other ways. Including them in the things you are doing or inviting them out can make a positive impact on the way people feel, immediately lifting their spirits. Small gestures such as inviting them to the pub for a drink, or round for coffee, dinner or a film could be the highlight of their day. This may then lead them on to feeling more comfortable about discussing the route of the problem later on.
Outside Sources of Help
Sometimes people feel uncomfortable discussing their problems with people they know. This can be for many reasons including embarrassment or a reluctance to burden others with their woes. If that’s the case, you can refer them to organisations such as the Samaritans who provide trained and dedicated volunteers who will listen in confidence. The Samaritans won’t tell people what they should do, but if people are looking for specific sources of help and advice they are able to refer them to other organisations who can provide it.
Mind Charity is also another helpful source of information. As well as accessing help and advice, you can also read about the experiences of others and the different situations that led them towards suicidal thoughts. They also talk about what help they received and how they managed to get back on track.
For more information about World Suicide Prevention Day, please visit the dedicated page on the IASP website.