Direct and indirect verbal expressions: “I don’t want to live anymore”, “there is nothing to live for anymore”, “people will be better off without me”.
Expressions of hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness.
Withdrawal from family, friends, and interests.
Preparation to die – means and plans ; giving away prize possessions and/or making a will; tidying up personal affairs; writing notes; making notes on belongings.
Saying goodbyes - Reconnecting with old friends and extended family as if to say goodbye; Previous unresolved or recent suicide attempt(s).
Unusual happiness and peace after an intense period of turmoil and displaying the above characteristics.
Listen to the distressed person with compassion and try to see the world as they see it to understand the distress.
Giving advice in this state might not be effective.
If the person is suicidal don’t leave them alone and remove any means that could be used for suicide.
Take the person to the hospital or emergency room and tell the staff that they are acutely suicidal.
Call a suicide prevention helpline.
Seek professional help from psychologist, counsellor, psychiatrist, or any other healing professional.
Myth : Suicide is always due to mental illness.
Fact : Most people have thought of suicide from time to time and not all people who die by suicide have mental health problems. Suicidal behavior indicates deep unhappiness but not necessarily a mental illness.
Myth : People who talk about suicide aren’t serious and won’t go through with it.
Fact : People who kill themselves have often told someone that they do not feel life is worth living or that they have no future. Some may have actually said they want to die. Someone talking about suicide is a cry for help, it’s vitally important to take anybody who talks about feeling suicidal seriously. The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have.
Myth : Once a person has made a serious suicide attempt, that person is unlikely to make another.
Fact : People who have tried to end their lives before are significantly more likely to make another attempt.
Myth : If a person is serious about killing themselves then there is nothing you can do.
Fact : Often, feeling actively suicidal is temporary, even if someone has been feeling low, anxious or struggling to cope for a long period of time. This is why getting the right kind of support at the right time is so important.
Myth : Talking about suicide is a bad idea as it may give someone the idea to try it.
Fact : Suicide can be a taboo topic in society. Often, people feeling suicidal don’t want to worry or burden anyone with how they feel and so they don’t discuss it. By asking directly about suicide you give them permission to tell you how they feel. People who have felt suicidal will often say what a huge relief it is to be able to talk about what their experiencing. Once someone starts talking they’ve got a better chance of discovering other options to suicide.
Myth : People who threaten suicide are just attention seeking and shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Fact : People who threaten suicide should always be taken seriously. It may well be that they want attention in the sense of calling out for help, and giving them this attention may save their life.
Myth : People who are suicidal want to die.
Fact : The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have. The distinction may seem small but is in fact very important and is why talking through other options at the right time is so vital.