Suicide is a major public health concern, and the month of September is designated as the national suicide prevention month, to draw attention and awareness to this issue. In the US, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. In fact, according to the CDC, suicide rates in the country have been on a steady rise over the past 20 years. One shocking statistic is that in 2020, there were twice as many suicide cases as homicides in the country. Even worse, millions of people have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide yearly. It is estimated that one person attempts suicide after every 28 seconds in the US. This is why raising suicide awareness is very important.
What You Can Do To Help
There are many causes of suicide, but the common ones are stress and social isolation. Reaching out to people and getting to know what they are going through can help reduce suicide cases. There are several other ways you can help reduce suicide cases, some of them include;
Ask Direct Questions
You can ask people if they are thinking about suicide. Being direct can help them open up and reveal their thoughts. However, you need to be careful how you frame your question. Asking such a question in a casual way may not get you honest answers. In fact, it could make the person feel embarrassed and more isolated. Therefore, you need to be very careful and mature when asking a person if they are planning to end their life. Let them know you care about them and understand what they are going through. Doing so will increase the chances of getting honest answers.
After asking, listen to what they have to say. In most cases, suicidal people often feel isolated and lonely. They also feel like no one cares about them and that they are a burden to others. If a person admits to having suicidal thoughts, you should talk them out of it. If you don’t trust your convincing skills, seek help from a professional. It is important to note that some individuals will only open up to people they are comfortable with. So, if a suicidal person has opened up to you, don’t refer them to another person for advice. Instead, get tips on how to handle the individual directly.
Find Out Their Plan
Ask the individual if they have a plan. When a person is suffering from depression and has suicidal thoughts, they tend to pick harmful habits to help them cope up with stress. Some of them include;
- Running away
All these methods of coping with stress are harmful and can affect their health. Finding out what their plan is will help you know what to do next. For instance, when a person says they drink a lot of alcohol to deal with their stress, you need to get them to stop using alcohol as an escape plan. You can start spending more time with them to keep them engaged. Alternatively, you can get them to fall back in love with their favorite activities. For example, instead of drinking their way out of stress, you can get them to participate in swimming activities or playing soccer. This will not only distract them but also help improve their mental health.
Connect With Them To Help
After knowing a person has suicidal thoughts, you need to know what pushed them into it. While most suicidal thoughts are caused by serious mental problems triggered by life situations, some can be caused by simple life inconveniences. For instance, a person might have suicidal thoughts due to a lack of sufficient funds to pay for their mortgage, or because of relationship problems. In such cases, you should help them seek the necessary help.
Therefore, do everything you can to find solutions to their problems. This is important because, sometimes, simply talking to them won’t fix the problem. The same applies to when their suicidal thoughts are caused by relationship problems. Get them to a therapist that will help them navigate their emotions. Alternatively, you can start spending time with them so that they don’t feel alone.
Keep in Touch With Them
You should stay connected with them. Even after managing to talk them out of suicidal thoughts, keeping in touch with them may help prevent them from having such thoughts again. Call them regularly and engage them on whatever subject matter interests them. Let them know you care about them and value their well-being. If you live close to them, visit them regularly. Meeting up physically is important because you will get to see how they’re doing. This will also help cheer them up, especially if they live alone.
Let’s Take Action Against Suicide
Suicide is a serious menace in the US. The fact that it is one of the leading causes of death makes it necessary to take action against it urgently. Now that you know what you can do to help suicidal people, reach out to as many individuals as you can. This will help reduce suicide cases significantly.