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September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day the world can come together and raise much needed awareness for suicide prevention.
With the increased impact on people’s mental health due to COVID-19, suicide rates are also on the increase, making World Suicide Prevention Day more important than ever.
A few stats and figures
The most recent stats are taken from The Samaritans 2018 – 2019
And an update made on 1st September for 2019 and part of 2020
Key trends from 2018
What can you do to help someone experiencing suicidal feelings?
It can be a difficult thing starting a conversation with someone who may be feeling suicidal. Below are a few things you can do to get the conversation started.
There is no set way to start a conversation about mental health, but there are a few things that you can do to make it feel less awkward and more comfortable for all involved.
Choose a comfortable setting
When starting a conversation with someone, it is always a good idea to choose a place that feels natural so you can both relax and not worry about your surroundings.
This may vary from person to person but some examples are:
As long as the setting is comfortable for both people and you are at ease, the conversation will feel more relaxed and natural. Remember that it doesn’t always have to be face to face, you could send someone an email or text message to ask them how they are feeling. Some people may find this easier than face to face and open up more. Once you have started the conversation in this way you could then arrange to meet up somewhere or have a chat over the phone.
A lot of the time when you ask people “are you ok?” they will respond naturally with “I’m fine, thanks.” This is a natural response, as most of the time people think that you are just being polite. In this situation ask twice “are your sure everything is ok?” Even if the person doesn’t open up at that time, they know that you are there to listen.
Share your own experiences
Sharing your thoughts and feelings about your own experiences with mental health can go a long way to reassuring someone and get them to talk about their own mental health. Even if you don’t have any personal experience with mental health, you can still discuss how you deal with things when you are feeling low and down. Doing so will show that you are comfortable with talking about emotions and feelings, making the other person feel more comfortable talking about their own.
The elephant in the room
If you know that someone has previously experienced mental health difficulties, you can always ask how they are doing now. Maybe you have noticed a change in them recently and they are acting differently to their normal selves. It is ok to address this, try starting the conversation with “I’ve noticed you are a bit quiet lately, are you feeling ok?”, “If you want to talk about anything I’m here to listen.” This can show that you care about them and that you willing to listen when they are ready to talk.
Where to get help if you are experiencing suicidal feelings
If you are feeling suicidal and thinking of acting upon them please call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance. If it is safe to do so, please go along to the A&E department of your nearest hospital as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing suicidal feelings but not thinking of harming yourself there are several numbers you can call to get support from someone.
The NHS 111 service is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a team of fully trained advisers. They will ask questions to assess your symptoms and, depending on the situation.
The Samaritans also provide a 24/7 helpline with fully trained volunteers who are their to listen. You can call the Samaritans on 116 123. You can also email the Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org please be aware that the response time for emails is 24hrs.
CALM (campaign against living miserably) is a free helpline for men which is available from 5pm-midnight. You can call CALM on 0800 585858.
PAPYRUS offer a free helpline for younger people 9am – 10pm Mon-Fri and 2pm-10pm on the weekend. You can get in touch with PAPYRUS by calling 0800 9684141.
It is also important that you call your GP and book an emergency appointment as soon as possible. Your practice should be able to offer you an emergency appointment in a crisis with the next available doctor.
Dudley Mind are also provide a support line, although not specifically for suicide, we are still there to listen to anyone that needs help and support. You can call us Mon-Fri 8am-midnight and 10am-midnight on Saturday and Sunday by calling 01384 442938.
The Mind Hub
Bushey Fields Hospital
Bushey Fields Road
Dudley, DY1 2LZ