World Suicide Prevention Day 2017- helping someone suicidal
8th September 2017
Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK, at a rate greater than road traffic accidents and much more common in men, than in women.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds.
Up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt.
Over 1 in 3 Childline counselling sessions related to mental health issues in 2016/17.
These shocking statistics highlight that talking about suicide is still highly stigmatised. Talking about suicide and understanding it better is necessary in helping someone suicidal and preventing further suicides. World Suicide Prevention Day is held this weekend on the 10th September. It’s an annual awareness raising event organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organisation. We need to get better at identifying those most at risk and finding ways to reach them in order to make a difference today, which is highlighted in this year’s theme: ‘take a minute, change a life.’
Make a difference today
Reaching out to people who are going through a difficult time can be a game changer in helping someone suicidal and can make a difference today. People who are feeling low or suicidal often feel worthless and think that no-one cares. Small things like hearing from friends or family, feeling listened to or just being told that ‘it’s ok to talk’ can change the life of that person and make a huge difference.
Top tips for helping someone suicidal
Taking a minute to reach out to someone – a complete stranger, close family member or a friend – can change the life of that person. Here are some tips from the Samaritans on how to approach the sensitive subject with someone feeling suicidal:
- Find a good time and place – the person must feel comfortable and have the time to talk
- Ask gentle questions, and listen with care
- The more open the question the better:
When – ‘When did you realise?’
Where – ‘Where did that happen?’
What – ‘What else happened?’
How – ‘How did that feel?’
Why – be careful with this one as it can make someone defensive.‘What made you choose that?’ or ‘What were you thinking about at the time?’ are more effective.
- Find out how they feel- revealing your innermost emotions (anger, sadness, fear, hope, jealously, despair and so on) can be a huge relief. It sometimes also gives clues about what the person is most worried about
- Check they know where to get help
- Respect what they tell you, don’t pressure or push them
- Look after yourself, and talk to someone too – helping someone suicidal opens yourself to the worries and problems of them which may build up inside you
Here at Impero, we are currently working in partnership with Harmless, a UK-based self-harm support organisation. They have helped to contribute to our suicide and self-harm libraries so that we are able to safeguard young people from suicidal feelings by detecting the warning signs early.
Make a difference today and take a minute out of your weekend to change the life of someone who may be struggling. Check in with them, and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Suicide is not inevitable, it is preventable.
To find out more about how Impero Education Pro can help monitor and identify students at risk of suicide, read about our online safety features here.