Save a life! Read these signs for suicide prevention

On the World Suicide Prevention Day, an expert tells you the signs to watch out for in a person who may be suicidal, and how you could help.
suicide prevention
Rise in suicides amid the pandemic has been a cause of concern. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Tasneem Raja Updated: 9 Sep 2021, 13:40 pm IST
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Every 40 seconds someone takes their life; that’s almost 800,000 people a year  around the world. India reports 10.4 suicides per 100,000 people in a year. The truth, however, is that suicide prevention is a reality! 

Most people do not want to die, they are just unable to deal with the pain.

Talking openly about suicide can save a life. Not talking about it makes it worse. Your action of reaching out to a friend, acquaintance, neighbour, co-worker can restore hope and save a life. Take action; reach out and rekindle hope. Do your bit for suicide prevention. The points below tell you how!

suicide prevention
Suicide is preventable. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Recognise the signs that a person is suicidal:
  • Threatening to kill themselves
  • A person expresses feeling trapped; that there is no way out
  • Talking, writing, posting about death, dying or suicide
  • Planning ways of killing self; research, accessing pills, pesticides, weapons or other means
  • Hopelessness; nothing to look forward to
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, or society
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Anxiety, agitation, rage or continued feeling of anger
  • Loss of purpose or meaning in life – could be sudden change in life
People, at a greater risk for suicide, include:
  • Those who may have a mental illness
  • People with poor physical health and disabilities
  • Those who have attempted suicide or harmed themselves in the past
  • Those facing difficult life circumstances particularly with relationships or their health
  • People who have experienced physical or sexual abuse as a child
  • People who have recently experienced a suicide by someone else

Also Read: This is the reason why some people are at a greater suicide risk than others

How to approach someone who is suicidal
  • Be patient and calm while the person is talking about their feelings
  • Listen to the person without expressing judgment, accepting what they are saying without agreeing or disagreeing with their behavior or point of view
  • Ask open-ended questions (i.e. questions that cannot be simply answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’) to find out more about the suicidal thoughts and feelings and the problems behind these
  • Ensure that you express empathy for how the person is feeling
suicide prevention
Sometimes just being a good listener to someone helps. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
What NOT to do
  • Argue or debate with the person about their thoughts of suicide
  • Being judgmental about suicide
  • Use guilt or threats to prevent suicide 
  • Communicate a lack of interest or negative attitude through your body language.
  • ‘Daring them to ‘just do it’
  • Attempt to give the person a diagnosis of a mental illness

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About the Author

Tasneem Raja is a Mental Health Expert. She has a Master's degree in clinical psychology, and an M.Phil. She has advanced training in public health with a special focus on Mental Health. ...Read More

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