Suicide is like a tsunami whose dreaded wave overwhelms all. Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague.
For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. That’s almost 80,000 people per year in Ireland impacted by this loss. A Croke Park full of grief.
Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, and also encompasses suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide. Suicide is the result of a convergence of genetic, psychological, social and cultural and other risk factors, sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss.
Preventing suicide is often possible and you are a key player in its prevention!
You can make a difference – as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbour. There are many things that you can do daily, , to prevent suicidal behaviour.
You can raise awareness about the issue, educate yourself and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in your community, advocate for timely services for those with mental health issues, question the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health problems and share your own experiences.
Togetherness and Work
It takes work to prevent suicide. The positive benefits of this work are infinite and sustainable and can have a massive impact.
The work can affect not only those in distress but also their loved ones, those working in the area and also society as a whole. Joining together is critical to preventing suicide.
Preventing suicide requires the efforts of many. It takes family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, religious leaders, healthcare professionals, political officials and governments.
A good place to start is your HSE local suicide support office where they provide excellent free resources including two evidenced based trainings ‘SafeTalk & ‘Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training ASSIST details at www.hse.ie.
Everyone can make a contribution in preventing suicide. Suicidal behaviour is universal, knows no boundaries so it affects everyone.
The tens of thousands of people affected each year by suicidal behaviour have exclusive insight and unique voices. Their experiences are invaluable for informing suicide prevention measures and influencing the provision of supports for suicidal people and those around them.
The involvement of people with lived experience of suicide is critical and we need to provide ways to support these valuable voices.
What to say to someone who is thinking about suicide
1. Let the person know you are concerned about them.
2. Ask about suicide.
3. Listen and understand.
4. Take all threats seriously.
Talking to a friend or family member about their thoughts and feelings on suicide can be extremely difficult. It is important to check if your loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts and if they have a plan as to how they will end their life.