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Suicide Prevention Day 2018

10 September 2018

“The statistics on suicide are shocking. Over 800,000 people take their own life every year worldwide - that’s one person every 40 seconds. In the UK and Ireland alone, over 6,000 people commit suicide every year - an average of 18 people per day. Beyond these sad statistics, it is important to remember that every single life lost to suicide, was somebody who was special to someone - somebody who was cared for and loved and whose loss will be felt forever.

“In some cases of suicide, there may have been a long battle with mental health or some signs that all was not well, but in many other instances, friends and family will report that they did not notice anything of the ordinary in their loved one prior to their death. Many people worry about engaging with somebody who they think may be struggling with life, often because they are worried about making things worse, but studies with people who have considered suicide or have had an unsuccessful suicide attempt, show that it often takes very little to pull people back from that edge. They report that the sense of relief at being able to share how they were feeling or knowing that somebody cared enough to ask how they were feeling or to offer to be around for them if they wanted to talk was enough to get them to open up and from there, feel empowered and supported to seek help.”

Risk factors for suicide
“Below are some risk factors and signs which may be present in someone who is considering taking their own life, but do remember that these signs may also be present in people who are not feeling suicidal:

  • Being male. Men aged between 20 to 49 years are still more likely to die from suicide than from any other cause
  • Mental health problems
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Suffering with serious physical ill-health
  • Relationship breakdown
  • Job loss or financial difficulties
  • Bereavement and loneliness
  • People from disadvantaged backgrounds are also significantly more likely to take their own life than those from more affluent areas

Warning signs

  • Focusing on death or suicide or talking about ways of dying
  • Forward planning. Some people may start to give away goods or make a will or write a suicide note
  • People may become isolated, avoiding friends or family or hobbies
  • Changes in mood

How to help someone you’re worried about
“If you’re worried about somebody, talk to them - your support could help to save their life. Don’t be afraid to ask if somebody is struggling with life or feeling low in mood or suicidal. Encourage the person to talk to a health professional as soon as possible or offer to make an appointment for them and attend with them. In urgent cases contact your local Crisis Team (number varies per area but will be available online), the Samaritans (freephone 116 123) or 999.

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