We just spent World Suicide Prevention Day at the "Stomp out Stigma Walk & Wellness Fair" on Saturday at Rockwood Park in Saint John and, in case you missed it, I'd like to share an important message for you…
PLEASE be willing to get uncomfortable and have tough conversations with people in your life. We need to respond to this growing problem with compassion and understanding.
We encourage you to know the warning signs as they can be easy to miss. Know that anyone in your life can be at risk. Suicide does not discriminate.
Suicide warning signs
If you are having thoughts about suicide there could also be some behavioural and/or physical changes that could tell you something isn’t right.
It might be subtle, but it’s likely that you notice a number of signs rather than just one or two. Remember that everyone is different and responds differently to these thoughts and feelings.
Non-verbal indicators may include:
a persistent drop in mood
not maintaining personal hygiene or appearance
uncharacteristically reckless behaviour
change in diet, rapid weight change
alcohol or drug abuse
giving away sentimental or expensive possessions
Indirect verbal expressions may include:
failing to see a future
believing they are a burden to others
saying they feel worthless or alone
talking about their death or wanting to die.
This is not an exhaustive list - listen to your instincts.
Is suicide selfish? This is a common question we hear from people. And No, suicide isn't selfish. We must realize that mental illness can take our logic, our hope and reasoning away. It is a disease of skewed perception. So if you’re questioning why a suicidal person doesn’t “just get help,” you’re forgetting that suicidal thoughts do not come from any form of healthy logic. There is also a stigma as many people talk about suicide as selfish, wrong, awful etc. This sends the message that we shouldn’t talk about our battle with suicidal thoughts because other people will hear them and think we are stupid, selfish, ungrateful, or worse What people hear when we say suicide is selfish... “Although I didn’t know you and I clearly do not understand clinical depression and suicide, I’m going to continue judging people who die from it even if it causes unimaginable pain and trauma to the survivors and further stigmatizes mental illness because it makes me feel better than, safer, and more comfortable.” - Brene Brown Read more Brené Brown on suicide: Everyone Has a Story How can you help?
Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time either through their own experience, or that of a family member, friend or colleague. We need to check in with one another. Here are some Mental Health Check in Questions:
How are you feeling today?
How have you been sleeping?
What are you looking forward to?
How are things going?
What’s on your mind?
Are you OK? Is there anything I can do to help?
So it’s important we open up a conversation often and get comfortable allowing people to gently and consistently express the pain of being human. Violence, drinking, isolating emotionally doesn’t need to be the go-to as we know it contributes to mental health challenges.Lean in, ask questions, ask how you can be in that place of pain with someone who is struggling.
A recent study showed that a simple act of sending notes of care to people can prevent suicide. Why?
People felt cared about
They felt hope for the future,
They knew they were liked (The notes often included a memory of a special time together)
Send a note (or even a text) to someone in your life who may be struggling! This could be a simple strategy to pick someone up today.
Give us a call if you are unsure how to help someone in your life! We can point you in the right direction for free. We offer free therapy sessions every Friday from 1-4pm. 651-1239 to book an appointment or drop in. - Laura