May 9, 2022
Neha Jayaram, Communications and Marketing Specialist
Suicidal thoughts are painfully common and are often a direct result of an untreated mental health condition. And very much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone, irrespective of age, race, gender or background. Sadly, suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canadians under 25 years of age.
Feeling suicidal is not a character defect, it doesn’t make a person weak or in any way flawed. It just means that the person is feeling more pain than they can cope with right now and they need help and support.
According to a report by the World Health Organization, every 40 seconds someone around the globe dies by suicide, leaving behind family and friends to navigate the tragedy of this loss. Also called suicide loss survivors, the people left behind often feel shame and stigma, preventing them from talking openly.
In fact, even for someone contemplating suicide, asking for help is difficult. What if people judge me? Or worse, what if I’m dismissed and not taken seriously? Despite these feelings, if you are struggling, it is important to reach out to someone you can trust.
Suicide is preventable
We cannot stress this enough. According to the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, promoting hope and resilience is central to suicide prevention. Talking about suicide can make a difference and using appropriate language to demonstrate non-judgmental care and understanding is key.
People often mistakenly believe that talking about suicide increases the likelihood that someone will kill themselves. Because of this, unfortunately, people ignore warning signs and avoid talking about it.
Know someone thinking of suicide? Here are some signs to watch out for
HIGH RISK SIGN: Talks or threats to self-harm, searching online for materials or means to self-harm, talking or writing about death, dying or suicide.
There are some less obvious signs that someone is at risk:
- Increased substance use (drugs, alcohol or inhalants)
- Feelings of hopelessness or feeling trapped
- Feeling like there’s no reason for living or feeling like a burden
- Anxiety/ agitation
- Uncontrolled anger or other dramatic mood changes
- Unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Withdrawing from family, friends and regular activities
- Reckless behavior or even different from usual behaviour
What can you do?
Talking honestly, responsibly and safely about suicide can help you determine if someone needs help. If you want to help someone in crisis, try:
- Showing concern can be an immediate way to help someone
- Listening won’t increase the risk of suicide and it may save a life
- Talking with them and reassuring them that they’re not alone
- Letting them know you care
- Connecting them with a:
- crisis line
- trusted person (neighbour, friend, family member or Elder)
When someone is feeling hopeless, trapped and suicidal, knowing someone is there for them and someone understands, can make a difference. You can help them gain perspective and connect them with resources for help.
If You or Anyone You Know Is In Immediate Danger Please Contact 911.
Are you having suicidal thoughts? Here’s why should you reach out
- First and most important, you matter. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, there is always someone who will be heartbroken if you’re gone.
- Sharing your thoughts and feelings can provide relief and even help to reduce stress.
- Working through a problem with someone else can bring perspective and reduce the sense of isolation.
- Connecting with someone can link you to resources and give you strategies to cope.
If your back or leg hurts every day for a week, you would seek help right? You’d get medication, see a doctor, get a massage and let people know you’re in pain. Just like physical pain, mental pain is real and needs help. Remember, you are never alone, there will always be people who need you, ways you can make a difference and experiences you have to live for.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention has a list of crisis centres across Canada. If you or anyone you know needs help please reach out to one of these centres.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month – a time to raise awareness on what is considered a taboo topic, share resources and facilitate conversations. Having information and access to resources, connecting and communicating with those who have suicidal thoughts, or those who have lost loved ones to suicide can be crucial to saving a life.
If you need someone to talk to, please call SCHC at 416-642-9445 and we can connect you with one of our social workers. We promise to take you seriously, listen without judgement and support your journey to wellness.