Tips for Suicide Prevention | KELY


Tips for Suicide Prevention

Suicide is preventable. By listening, talking, and acting you could save a life. Suicide rarely happens without warning. It is important to learn these warning signs and what to do if you see any of them in yourself or a friend.


Causes of Suicidal Feelings / Risk Factors
Anyone can feel suicidal for different reasons. The following maybe some reasons:

  • Feeling depressed, feeling trapped and unable to escape from the situationStruggle with low self-esteem
  • Feeling isolated and alone, like nobody really understands or cares
  • Feeling pressured by family, friends, society, yourself and the future
  • Struggling with chronic health complications or pain, substance misuse
  • Having experienced a traumatic event (e.g., Death of a loved one, physical or sexual abuse, family violence, breaking up) or prolonged negative events (e.g. Being bullied at school, failing in school)
  • Experiencing financial hardship

Click below steps to learn more!

Step 1.1 - Notice the Signs

Changes in someone's behavior or personality maybe a sign of having suicidal thoughts. These may include:

  • Becoming anxious, restless, irritable or agitated
  • Quiet and distant, avoid interacting with people, skipping classes, inability to concentrate or think
  • Change of sleep patterns or mood swings
  • Change in appearance (e.g. Less concerned with appearance and hygiene)
  • Saying negative comments towards themselves
  • Signs of depression (e.g. Low mood, low energy, lack of motivation)
  • Self-harm behaviors 
    • How to observe? 
      • Unexpected cuts and bruises - Usually on wrists, arms, or thighs
      • Keeping themselves fully covered, even in hot weather
      • Pulling out their hair
Step 1.2 - How does that suggest?

The following may suggest that they are thinking about attempting suicide or already have a plan:

  • Suicide notes and plans (including online postings)
  • Making final arrangements (e.g., Making funeral arrangements, writing a will, giving away prized possessions)
  • History of prior suicidal attempt
  • Spontaneous acts of affection (e.g. Saying “I love you” out of the blue), saying goodbye or last words as if they were leaving

Things you may hear:

  • “The world would be a better place without me”
  • “It would be easier if everything just ended”
  • “I wish I could fall asleep and never woke up again”
  • “I hope I get hit by a car” 
  • “I am a burden / failure”, “Nobody will miss me anyway.”
  • “There is no hope for me anymore”
  • “I feel tired of living another day”
Step 2 - How to start a conversation?

Youth who feel suicidal are not likely to seek help directly; however, parents, school personnel, and peers can recognise the warning signs and take immediate action to keep the youth safe. 

  • Remain calm through the conversation
  • Ask the youth directly if he or she is thinking about suicide (e.g., "Are you thinking of suicide?")
  • Listen to their feelings with non-judgemental attitudes, and do not judge. Reassure them that there is help and they will not feel like this forever
  • If you feel that the youth or your peer has a plan, do not leave them alone, provide constant supervision and seek help from an adult, school social worker, or even then police

Reminder: No one should ever agree to keep a youth's suicidal thoughts a secret and instead should tell an appropriate caregiving adults, such as a parent, teacher, or school social worker / counsellor. Parents should seek help from school or community mental health resources as soon as possible. School staff should take the student to a school-employed mental health professional or administrator.

Step 3.1 - How to stay motivated and mental health

Protective Factors

The presence of protective factors can lessen the potential risks of suicidal ideation and behaviors. These include:

  • Strong social support network, including friends, family and from the community
  • Environments and space that promotes healthy living and normalises mental health conversation
  • Equipped with healthy coping behaviors, e.g. regular routine, journaling, reaching out when needed, establishing healthy boundaries; and other life skills, such as problem-solving skills, time management, conflict resolution skills
Step 3.2 - What Can You Do to Help a Friend?
  • Provide a safe space for your peers to be themselves
  • Do not be afraid to talk to your friends. 
  • Listen to their feelings and let them know you are here for them 
  • Tell a trusted adult. Don’t promise that you will keep their thoughts a secret, but don’t go behind their backs and tell someone else. Let them know you will tell a trusted adult as you are worried for their safety and this adult can provide further support
  • Be aware of the resources available in school. E.g. know who the school social worker / counselor is, what hotlines you can call

Always listen and take them seriously

  • If someone does tell you they are having suicidal thoughts, always take them seriously. Try to listen with patience and without distractions.
  • You are not there to fix their problems and find solutions. Just be there and encourage them to talk about how they are feeling 

Arrange to speak to them again

  • Arrange to speak to them again at a specific time. This will show your ongoing support and will make them feel valued.

Simple gestures are also beneficial

  • Suggest doing something with them, like going for a walk, going to visit a cafe, playing a video game with them
  • Sitting with them in silence
  • Give them a hug or a pat on the back


FAQs

As a parent or teacher, how can I talk to my child or student about suicidal thoughts?

Talking to your child/student about suicide can be scary and difficult. You may be worried about saying the wrong thing or making the situation worse. Having these worries are very much normal, however, remember that giving your child the space to share how they feel and what they’re struggling with can help.

It is important for you to create a safe space for them and let them know that they have someone they can turn to, as it is often for someone with suicidal thoughts to feel alone in this world. Talking about suicidal thoughts will not increase the risk of them taking action or putting ideas in their heads. 

If you suspect your child/student is having suicidal thoughts, ask them directly using clear words like “suicide”, “taking your own life”, rather than using ambiguous terms like “thoughts of hurting yourself” or “having dark thoughts”.

  • “Sometimes when people are feeling the way you are right now also think about suicide, Is that something you’re thinking about?”

Being direct lets your child/student know that it is okay to talk about it, that they should find someone to talk about it, and that you are a possible person to talk to. Here are some conversation starts you can use:

  • “I’ve recently noticed that…”
  • “I’m wondering if something has been bothering you lately.”
  • “What has brought you to thinking this way?”

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