Amongst all the fun and happy national days in the world, “awkwardly and uncomfortably” (due to the stigma I have spoken about before) sits World Suicide Prevention Day which took place yesterday, Sunday 10 September 2017. In light of this day, I wanted to share with you the statistics, educate people on the situation and help you understand how you can help those most in need.
The absolutely shocking statistics show that more than 800,000 people commit suicide each year which means that is one person every 40 seconds. This is the biggest killer of men under 45 years of age in the UK. Across the world 65,000 people are having suicidal ideations and contemplating committing suicide. It is not just experts that can help prevent suicide with therapy, everyone can do their little bit in order to help someone today.
World Suicide Prevention day aims to remind people that it is okay to open up those difficult conversations and to help those in need. This year, the World Suicide Prevention Day team is promoting that you take the time out to change someone’s life all by just having a conversation with someone that may be struggling with their mental health.
The theme; “Take a minute, change a life”.
We are great at speaking about happy subjects, but as a whole we lack the confidence in speaking about mental health. The fear lies in not knowing how to approach someone and worrying that bringing up their mental health issues will somehow make them worse.
However, from experience and from someone that suffers with mental health, I know that all I need is someone to sit and let me release all my feelings without judgement and at times, this has indeed helped me in times of hopelessness.
Things to remember when trying to support a friend or loved one suffering from a mental health issue are:
They are still themselves; Depression can make you apathetic to your loved ones and sometimes you may feel that the person suffering in front of you has completely changed – this is not the case and sometimes when they are pushing you away the most, this is the exact time you need to be there for them. They may say they do not care about anything anymore but this is the time you need to remind them who they are and help lead them away from the darkness.
They just want someone to be there; Just being with them, watching a film, laughing about something you both find funny or even bringing them their favourite food, really does help show that person that they aren’t alone and people do actually care.
Listen to them; Sometimes telling them the same thing over and over again doesn’t necessarily help, “it will be ok”, “things will get better”. Sometimes all the person needs is someone to listen so they can offload all of their problems and worries.
Keep asking them to do things; They may not accept your invitation, they may ignore it and you may feel like giving up and not trying to ask them out anymore. Remember, they are poorly. Keep in touch with them and still invite them to social events. Sometimes they may really want to come but they just cannot force themselves to do it. Being included is key for them, even if they do not manage to attend.
Just being there and showing that you support them can make all the difference.
Be there for someone today, you never know what difference it can make.