Suicidal behaviour is an attempt to communicate feelings of distress and a very real cry for help. One danger is to dismiss the behaviour as “attention seeking”. Every attempt is a desperate cry for help.
Warning signs may be a way of asking for help or revealing the seriousness of their situation. Warning signs can be very subtle or they can be as obvious as someone saying, “You won’t be seeing me anymore”.
Common Warning Signs:
• Sense of hopelessness and pessimistic outlook of the future
• Sudden change in behavior and/or reckless behavior
• Isolating oneself from friends and family
• Lack of interest or motivation
• Giving away possessions and/or inappropriately saying goodbye
• Increased use of alcohol and other drugs
• Statements about suicide eg. “No one cares if I live or die”.
• Strong reactions to the death of a friend, relative or loved one.
How can you help?
• Listen! Listen! Listen!
Listen carefully, without judging, challenging or becoming angry or shocked
• Engage the person!
Try to engage the person in some sort of interaction. Encourage talk about anything, not necessarily the problem itself.
Reassure them that you care enough to help them and will not abandon them
• Help them!
Help them find ways to lesson the pain. Help them look at alternate solutions and other possibilities.
• Do not allow!
Do not allow the person to isolate him or herself.
• Guide them!
Guide them to other sources of help urgently.
• Ignore requests for secrecy!
Requests for confidentiality must be ignored when a life is at risk.
What to do when you are in crisis?
• Talk to someone!
When you are in crisis, you need to talk to someone. Find someone to talk to today. Think of someone who has been helpful in the past in some way- a family member or a friend, a teacher, a family doctor. Call your therapist (psychiatrist, psychologist) or counselor if you have one. Find a telephone in your phone book for people in crisis eg. Lifeline
If you experience suicidal thoughts:
• Don’t isolate yourself!
This is not a time for isolation and secrecy. You might think that if people knew what you were thinking, they would reject you, lock you up or give you endless lectures. These things can happen.
• Share your thoughts and feelings!
But this is the time to take a risk and share your thoughts and feelings.
• Reach out!
In reaching out, you may find a depth of caring in people far beyond what you thought possible.
• You are not alone!
There are people who will take the time and who have the heart, to understand and help.
FOR ADVICE AND HELP?
Lifeline/Rape Crisis 394 4444 (033) (24 hour telephone counseling)
Childline 0800055555 (24 hour tollfree counseling for children)
Gift of Givers Careline 342 2239 (033) (Telephone and individual counseling)
Child Welfare 342 8971 (033)
FAMSA 342 4945 (033)
Mental Health Society 392 7230 (033)