ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT SOMEONE’S SAFETY?
People who are thinking about suicide often say things like:
- “It’s hopeless. Nothing will ever change”.
- “Everyone would be better off without me”
- “I just can’t go on anymore”.
- “I wish I were dead”.
You may also notice some of the following changes in behaviour:
- They express hopelessness/helplessness
- They express rage/anger
- They engage in risky behaviour
- An increase use of alcohol and/or drug use
- Saying “goodbye” and withdrawing from those around them
- Showing signs of anxiety and/or sleep disorders
- Loss of appetite
- Uncaring about appearance or self-care
- Giving away prized possessions/ ‘putting things in order”
- Having a sudden change in behaviour – some people will appear to be “happier” because they have decided to “get rid” of all their problems at one time.
WHAT TO DO:
Suicide is extremely complex – if you have any concerns – check it out. Ask the person” Are you thinking of suicide/killing yourself?
If the answer is “yes” check out how far they have gone with their thoughts.
“Have you decided how you would do it?” “Have you got what you need to do it?” “When have you decided to do it?”
You now know how lethal the risk is and how quickly you need to act. Don’t leave the person alone. Keep them safe by removing any means of suicide available including weapons, medications, alcohol, drugs and even access to a car.
Help is available. LifeLine NZ counsellors are trained in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. LifeLine NZ counsellors are available 24 hours a day – phone 0800 54 33 54
Talking things through with someone else can be an important first step even though it may seem difficult
IF THE RISK IS LETHAL PHONE 111
SOME FACTS ABOUT SUICIDE:
- 70% of suicides and suicide attempts are related to mental health disorders -including depression.
- More than 75% of completed or attempted suicides give some warning of their intent to “go through with it”.
- The suicidal person is usually ambivalent – a part of them wants to live and a part of them wants the “pain” to end – and death is seen as the only way to end the suffering.
- There is a danger period of about 72 hours after a suicide attempt, when the risk of a second attempt is highest. If they receive proper help and support a person may never be suicidal again.
- Asking about or mentioning suicide will not encourage a person to “go through with it”. With the extensive coverage given to suicide by the media the idea is probably already there. By asking a direct question like “Are you thinking/talking about killing yourself?” (in a caring, non accusing manner) you are more likely to lower the anxiety level and show the person that you care and are willing to take it seriously. They can then feel able to release pent up feelings.