In honour of World Suicide Prevention Day, we take a look at how you can support someone who might be suicidal
For many of us, thinking about suicide, much less talking about it, can be difficult. We might feel upset, angry or just overwhelmed. But supporting those who might be feeling suicidal is so important.
The latest figures from the National Office for Suicide Prevention have shown that suicide rates in Ireland have fallen to their lowest levels in 20 years. However, an unknown number of cases still go unreported due to stigma and contradicting causes of death – car crashes or drownings for example. Without an explicit admission, it’s very difficult in some cases to rule whether it was an accident or intentional and out of respect for grieving families, official reporting tends to lean towards the former. Ultimately, we still have a long way to go.
If you think a loved one might be feeling suicidal, and are unsure of the best way to support them, here are some dos and don’ts to help.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Do listen and let them talk
Don’t get upset or angry
Try to stay calm and don’t get frustrated if your friend isn’t ready to talk. Do not try to minimise or dismiss how they’re feeling. Although it can be overwhelming, remember that you are there to support them and remain as non-judgemental as possible.
Do reassure them
Don’t do it all alone
Do keep in touch
If you are affected by any of the issues raised, you can contact:
Samaritans: freephone 116123 or text 087 260 9090
Pieta House: freephone 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444
Aware: freephone 1800 804 848
With thanks to the HSE for their guidelines on suicide support.