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The person who suicides, dies once! Those they leave behind die a thousand deaths.
They can’t rescue you if they don’t know you need help.
Suicide does not end the chance of life getting worse, it ends the possibility of it getting better.
You are not alone!
Suicide doesn’t take away the pain, it gives it to someone else.
Support and Advice:
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78
BeyondBlue 1300 22 46 36
Suicide is the leading cause of death amongst young people between the ages of 15 – 45.
An average of 8 Australians’ die each day due to suicide.
Men die from suicide at a rate of three times that of females.
Death by suicide in indigenous Australians is more than double the national rate.
The Kimberly Region has the 9th highest rate of suicide world wide.
An estimate of 30 people attempt suicide for every death by suicide in Australia.
9 out of 10 people who committee suicide have a mental illness.
- Threaten to hurt or kill themselves.
- Actively look for ways to kill themselves, such as stockpiling tablets or buying equipment that could be used to harm themselves.
- Talk, draw or write about death, dying or suicide.
- Complain of feelings of hopelessness, saying things such as, ‘What’s the point of even trying? I know things are never going to get better.’
- Have episodes of sudden rage and anger.
- Act recklessly and engage in risky activities with an apparent lack of concern about the consequences.
- Talk about feeling trapped, such as saying they cannot see any way out of their current situation.
- Start to abuse drugs or alcohol, or use more than they usually do.
- Become increasingly withdrawn from friends, family and society in general
- Appear anxious and agitated.
- Are unable to sleep or sleep all the time.
- Have sudden mood swings – a sudden lift in mood after a period of depression could indicate they have made the decision to attempt suicide.
- Talk and act in a way that suggests their life has no sense of purpose.
- Lose interest in their appearance, such as dressing badly, no longer wearing make-up or not washing regularly.
- Put their affairs in order.
Starting the Conversation:
If you are concerned about someone you know it’s important to start the conversation NOW. Waiting can actually be a death sentence. Conversation matters! You may feel ‘something isn’t right’ or have a bad feeling about someone, acting straight away may just save someone’s life or help those around them from having to learn to live without them. While it may be difficult to start the conversation for fear of making the situation worse, or because you may not know what to do if your concerns are confirmed, it’s important to have the conversation, because there is a lot you can do.
If someone you know is talking about death, “no one would care if I was gone”, ” the world would be better off without me”, “I want to kill myself”, or “Goodbye then!”, take these statements seriously, this maybe their way of asking for help, or indicating that something isn’t right. It is better to ask and be mistaken than not take the step. Asking someone if they are thinking of suicide will not make the situation worse and it is generally agreed by experts that it will not put ideas into someone’s head. A suicidal person already has these thoughts and may have even planned it or tried before. By asking the question, you are showing the person they are not alone, someone cares and may just be the trigger they need to have the confidence to seek help.
Plan ahead, find somewhere safe, comfortable and quiet for both you and the person involved. Arrange to have the conversation in person, if this is not possible, arrange to have someone with the person. A suicidal person is in danger of harming themselves and being alone allows for thoughts to escalate and actions to be taken. If a child was about to cross the street you would make sure they had someone with them so they wouldn’t be in danger of being run over by a car, a suicidal person is in the same danger from a different car.
Make time for the conversation. Find somewhere not in public, where you will have time to sit and talk and not be interrupted. Take your time. It is a hard conversation to have, if you feel you can not follow through, or support the person on their way to recovery, find someone who can. There are trained counsellors available through your local GP or the suicide help lines are available 24/7.
Starting the conversation may be the hardest part, start by letting the person know you are concerned about them, “I’ve been worried about you lately, I’ve noticed some changes in you lately, and I saw your post on Facebook. Let’s have a chat”. Once you’ve started it’s important to listen without judgement, don’t interrupt, they need a chance to express how their feeling without your thoughts in the way. You can’t fix everything, but you can help by just being there. Don’t minimise their feelings, saying things like ” I know how you feel,” or “Don’t worry about it” validates your feelings and not theirs. Take all their thoughts seriously and acknowledge their reasons and thought’s. “Sounds like life is hard at the moment and you are feeling really low”.
Encourage the person to talk. Use open ended questions, “ how long have you been feeling like this?” questions that need a yes or no answer can stop a conversation before it gets going. “Are you ok?” Ask if they are thinking of committing suicide and have they planned it out. This will help determine the risk and what action needs to be taken. regardless of what they tell you, remember to keep the connection going and validate their feelings, ” I may not know what your going through, but I want to help you get through it.”
Keep the person safe! They are in danger of harming themselves. They need help. If they have the means to take action immediately discuss getting them to hand it over safely. Call emergency services and seek help. Stay with the person or ensure someone is with them. If the risk isn’t imminent, ask who else should be contacted. Remember that this is not a secret, get professional services involved. Encourage them to seek help. Mental illness is a relenting condition, depression and suicide go hand in hand. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone needs help at some point in their life, and there is trained and professional support out there.
Seek help for yourself. This is a tough situation to go through, for both you and your loved one. Don’t be afraid to ask, find and receive help. It can help just to talk it through with someone you trust!
If you’re feeling Suicidal:
You are not alone. There is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. You need help and that’s ok. Everybody needs help at some point in their life. Your time has just come now. If the threat is imminent call 000, go to the hospital or seek out someone NOW! Don’t wait, your worth it and your friends and family will NOT be better off with out you.
If your thoughts are taking you down this path it’s time to open up and find some help. Find someone you feel comfortable with and you trust. This may be scary to you, but acknowledging how your feeling can help and may show the light at the end of the tunnel.
Pick the right person, this may be a friend, family member, or a medical professional. Who ever you choose understand that their reaction is not a reflection on you. Their feelings do not have any bearing on the way you are feeling. Hearing someone confess they want to kill themselves can be confronting and scary for anyone, their first reaction may be shock, surprise, disbelief, and denial. These are their feelings and belong to them, you can not control them and you are not responsible for how everyone else feels. They may need time to adjust before they are able to be as supportive as you need.
Be slow, gentle and forgiving of yourself, taking the first step in anything is hard and confronting but once the first step is taken, the next one never seems so difficult. Find the right words to be honest and share all your thoughts, “I’m going to find this hard, I might get upset during this, and you may find it hard to hear, I’m feeling terrible and I need help to get through this“.
Tell the person what you need to get through the situation. If you need to seek help immediately, have the person take you to an emergency room. “ Help me, call 000, I need help right now!”, If you need someone just to listen at this point in time, explain that your mind set is ok at the moment and you just need to talk, “you can’t fix me, and I don’t need solutions at the moment, I just need to get it all off my chest, your listening is help enough and I will come to you if things get worse“. If you need help booking an appointment and want someone with you, communicate this, “can you help me find a professional, and this is difficult for me, can you please be beside me during my appointment?”
Find professional help, as supportive as your person maybe, unless they are trained they may not be able to get you through your recovery. They may walk beside you and take each step with you, but it is your journey and only a trained medical professional can help you get through the complete illness. You wouldn’t go to your Aunt if you had Cancer, and she probably isn’t the best person to help you battle the disease, (unless she is a doctor). Mental illness is as real as cancer, having suicidal thoughts is not normal and needs to be treated like any other illness or disease.
Have information about depression, anxiety and mental health with you, your support person may need help understanding what you are going through. This information may come as a shock to them, they may start questioning what they have done, or could have done to stop you from getting to this point. Help them to understand what you are going through and ultimately what you need from them to support you as you take your journey.
Unfortunately not everyone will be supportive or know how to handle the situation, they may act badly and say all the wrong things. Remember this is a reflection on them and not you. Understand that not everyone is equipped to be your support person. DON’T GIVE UP. There are people out there who want to help you and the person you need may not be the person you thought it would be.
Always seek help from a qualified, trained professional. This the rest of your life we are talking about. You are worth it and you do deserve to be happy. Your loved ones need and want you around. They have a right to have you around for the rest of their life. You owe it to yourself to find, live, and enjoy all that life has to offer. This time in your live may not seem like it is worth living and you may want all the pain to stop. Suicide is not the answer, tomorrow or next week may be better. All that pain that you want to stop has to go somewhere. It doesn’t stop when you end it all, it gets passed on to your loved ones and they then have to live with it. A medical professional will help you find away to control the pain and live a better, happier, more fulfilling life!