Whether it’s on an individual or societal level, suicide is often preventable. You can learn to identify the warning signs, understand the risk factors, and engage your community. If you know a friend or loved one who is feeling down, listen to what they’re saying, and register with a support group.
Know the risk factors
Whether you’re a health professional, a parent, or someone who’s just inquiring about suicide, it’s important to understand the risk factors for preventing suicide. This will help you select useful interventions. It also will help you combat the myth that suicide is an unavoidable outcome of stress.
Risk factors are characteristics of a person that make them more likely to engage in suicidal behavior. Some are situational, while others are immutable.
One of the most important risk factors is a prior suicide attempt. It’s also important to identify whether a person has a family history of suicide. Another risk factor is a substance abuse disorder. These disorders can result in delusions and hallucinations.
Another risk factor is a recent or serious loss. This can include the death of a friend, a pet, or a family member.
Recognize the warning signs
Taking the time to recognize the warning signs of suicide prevention can save lives. It’s important to recognize the signs because they may be a signal of a mental health issue that needs professional treatment.
Most health experts agree that the key to determining if someone is at risk of suicide is identifying risk factors. These factors may include a major life crisis, a mental health issue, or access to lethal means. Taking action to prevent suicide is also important.
If someone shows signs of suicidal thoughts, they should be treated immediately. The first step is to get them to a safe place. The second step is to seek professional help. The third step is to get rid of any lethal means. This includes drugs, guns, and poison.
Listen to a friend’s feelings
Getting a friend to listen to their feelings is an important step in preventing suicide. Listening can reduce feelings of shame and help alleviate isolation. It is also a helpful first step in helping someone recover from a difficult time.
The most important part of listening to a friend’s feelings is taking them seriously. This does not mean that you should judge them or assume that they are wrong. It also does not mean that you need to reassure them that their feelings are normal.
While listening to a friend’s feelings is an important first step in preventing suicide, it does not have to be a time-consuming affair. If you know that the person is ready to talk, choose a time that will allow them to do so.
Register with support groups
Providing emotional support to people in distress is an important part of suicide prevention. While the idea of a support group may be intimidating, there are a number of resources available to help individuals and communities.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free emotional support and resources to individuals in distress. They offer both a telephone and a text line, both of which are available 24/7.
There are also national organizations that provide healing and educational programs. These organizations can also help communities develop resources and policies to prevent suicide.
One organization that provides this type of support is the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors (AHSLS). This organization was created by survivors for survivors. They offer an online forum, healing support, and other services.
Increasing awareness of suicide and creating protective strategies to prevent suicide are priorities of the National Health Service (NHS). Communities can play an important role in suicide prevention efforts. Through social engagement, communities can help prevent suicide, fight stigma, and provide social support for vulnerable people.
In low- and middle-income countries, services are often scarce and resources are limited. Suicide prevention approaches are particularly appealing in these settings. They are cost-effective and often effective at reducing suicide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a step-by-step guide to engage communities in suicide prevention activities. It describes an active bottom-up process that involves community leaders, social workers, teachers, and health workers. The guide also describes effective strategies, examples of successful suicide prevention initiatives, and provides practical tools for engaging communities in suicide prevention activities.