National Suicide Awareness Month
September is a month to raise awareness on Suicide.
“We lose over 800,000 people per year to suicide”*
“It is the 10th biggest cause of death worldwide”*
*statistics taken from the depression project.
What is Suicide?
Suicide is an intentional act to take your own death. It all starts with your mental health. Where one already has mental health issues such as bi polar, depression, anxiety, etc. without the correct tools and support, this could deteriorate and lead into suicidal thoughts, which then can eventually lead into committing the act itself.
Suicidal thoughts are feelings of isolation, being a burden on others combined with hopelessness, that things will never get any better.
I have written a previous blog on my experience of having suicidal thoughts and what got me out of it, having one friend who came along and picked me up, and made me believe that life was worth living. Upon reflection, I also realised that alongside this there was another thing which got me through this period in my life too.
As a kid I used to read teenage magazines and in one of the magazines I came across an article that said do these things daily to lift your mood. It said write 1 thing you are grateful for, write 1 thing that is good about you and write 1 thing that you love in life. I decided to do this exercise, as at that moment in my life, I was really down, so down, I had no friends, no one to talk to and used to come home crying every day from school.
After a couple of months of doing this exercise, I realised I had written a whole book on what was good about myself, what I loved in life and things I was grateful for in life. It made me so happy, something I hadn’t felt for a long time. At the time I didn’t realise by doing this exercise I was retraining my mind to focus on the good things in life, which by doing so helped me to bring myself out of the state of not wanting to be alive anymore.
Suicide doesn’t just occur overnight. It is the suicidal thought patterns which overtime become so deeply ingrained that you end up believing negative thoughts about yourself, such as you are not good enough, not worth living, have no friends, etc. and you end up spotting anything in your life that verifies this, even if there is good things going on in your life. This is how our minds work. Our minds will focus on what filter we view the world through.
So when we are really happy, we will view everything as even better than normal, and when we are really down, we view everything as worse than normal. In reality, the situations are the same, it just either feels good or bad, based on what filter we are viewing the situation from our minds.
Based on this, when we are feeling down, we need to consciously catch ourselves focusing on the negative feelings, and only by doing so we can try to change these thoughts. Or we can consciously ingrain new thoughts into our minds, which if done daily, become our new focus over time. This is what happened to myself when I did the exercise in the magazine to write things I was grateful for in life, things I loved about life and good things about myself daily.
Another thing you can do is just be there for people. If someone is alone, looks sad, just be nice to them and have a friendly conversation with them. By doing so, you may be the one person who helps turn their life around by giving them hope that nice people do exist in life. If you are able to become friends with such people, you could be the one friend who could unknowingly help save their life, as I believe my one friend did for me when I was younger. The reverse of this is that if you say something not so nice to someone, you could be the tipping point for someone to react and commit such acts, and this could more so occur where the person already has negative thought patterns of feeling alone, having low self worth and low self esteem.
Below are 24 hour helplines, unless stated otherwise, which can be called if you are going through an experience of suicidal thoughts or know of someone who is currently having suicidal thoughts.
Samaritans – for everyone
Call 116 123
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day
Visit the webchat page
Papyrus – for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 9am to 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 2pm to 10pm
Text 07860 039967
Childline – for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill