Preventing Suicide: What Can You Do to Help?
December 16, 2020 | Farah Jassawalla

Preventing Suicide: What Can You Do to Help?

Globally, suicide is the second most common cause of death in people aged 15-29. An estimated 800,000 individuals of all ages die from suicide every year. The reason for its prominence is due to the subject being taboo in most societies around the world.  

79% of the global suicides in 2016 occurred in low-income countries. The prevalence of suicide in these countries is because there is little to no mental health facilities available. People dealing with suicidal thoughts are often left to fend it off on their own till they eventually lose hope. 


How can you tell if someone is suicidal?

Almost everyone who takes their own life has discussed their plan of doing so with a loved one before. People assume they won't do something this drastic and brush it off. It is crucial to intervene and offer help before things take a turn for the worse. 

People considering suicide usually exhibit the following behaviors:

Talking about death or wanting to die

Buying a gun or other items such as a noose

Expressing guilt or shame and talking about feeling worthless

Drug abuse

Acting agitated or irritable

Getting detached from loved ones

Preparing to say goodbye

Expressing their desire to die through their work such as poetry or songs

Losing interest in day to day activities

Not eating enough 

Not caring about their behavior or hygiene

Increased reckless behavior that shows disregard for their own life


How can you Help?

Intervention is a direct effort that can prevent suicide. You must sit the suicidal person down and tell them that they matter. Here are a few other things that you can do to help:

Encourage them to seek help

There is only so much you can do to help. It is best to get a mental health professional involved as soon as possible. The suicidal individual may have to get admitted to a hospital till the doctors believe it is safe to discharge them.

Maintain regular communication and monitor their behavior

Once you determine someone is considering suicide, be sure to maintain constant contact with them to show them you care. Call them every other day if you can not visit as often. Look for signs of deteriorating mental health by asking them about their day and try to determine their mental state.

Be respectful and listen

When someone is discussing their symptoms and feelings with you, you must listen without any judgment. Ask them questions and try to make them realize that how they feel right now will change in the future, even if it is difficult to believe in their current situation. 

Get their loved ones involved

Do not promise to keep their feelings a secret from their loved ones. The sooner their family can get involved the better. Suicidal people are often under the impression that they are a burden to others, which is why they do not reach out to their loved ones. For that reason, you should reassure them that their well-being and happiness are important not just to you but to dozens of other people. 

Remove all dangerous equipment from within their reach

If you suspect they have a weapon or other items that they might use to harm themselves, safely dispose of them off before they decide to use it to harm themselves. 

To discuss the symptoms of suicidal tendencies, it is best to get a mental health professional involved. Shifa4U allows you to book online consultations with doctors all over the country from the privacy of your home. Visit Shifa4U’s website today!

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.