Creating Hope Through Action For World Suicide Prevention Day
10th Sep, 2021
This blog post includes the personal lived experience of its writer, the opinions contained within are my own. Trigger Warning for discussions around suicidal feelings.
If you are experiencing any thoughts of suicide, you can contact your GP, NHS 111 or Samaritans on 116 123; you can also email Samaritans at [email protected]. For an emergency, or if you do not think that you can keep yourself safe right now, please call 999 or go to A&E.
The 10th of September is World Suicide Prevention Day, where we come together across the globe to raise awareness about suicide and how we can support each other through difficult times.
Suicide can be a difficult subject to think or talk about, but it’s something that could affect any one of us. In fact, one in five people think about suicide within their lifetimes. Currently, one in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide. Raising awareness, and talking about it, can help prevent suicide, but there is still a stigma that stops people from feeling able to talk about it.
Many people feel that talking directly about suicide, or asking someone if they are thinking about ending their life, will risk putting the idea into someone’s mind. But it is actually safer to talk about it than ignore it. Asking the question ‘are you thinking about suicide?’ can give someone permission to talk about their feelings, which can be an enormous relief.
My own experience with suicidal feelings began 11 years ago. I didn’t know how to ask for help or how to put my feelings into words. I didn’t even really understand that I was experiencing suicidal thoughts – all I knew was that I wanted everything to stop. When these feelings became the loudest and strongest things in my head, I made a plan and put it into action. Even after I had recovered, I still didn’t know how to talk about it. It wasn’t until a year later that I told anyone.
Since then, I have worked to understand my feelings, and I know that the best way to get help is to let people know that I need it. Whether that’s through reaching out to someone close to me, going to my GP, or simply answering honestly when someone I trust asks me how I am. Breaking my own stigma around my feelings is one of the main reasons I am here today, and I am incredibly grateful that I am.
Creating Hope Through Action
The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is Creating Hope Through Action. Hope is one of the best ways to fight against suicide, but people can often feel hopeless when struggling with suicidal thoughts. Talking about it, however, can be the first step towards hope.
Small Ways To Create Hope
Today, Samaritans are asking people to share some of the things they do to help them feel hopeful when they are going through a difficult time. As a company, we discussed the little things that we do to make ourselves feel better when we are having a hard time. Here are a few of our favourite ways to remind ourselves to be hopeful:
- I use a journal to write everything that I’m feeling down; it really helps to get it out
- I speak to someone that I trust, like a friend or someone in my family
- Taking myself for a calming walk in the woods near my house
- I have a ‘Feel Good’ box of things that make me feel proud, like emails where people have thanked me. If I’m having a hard time, I go straight to the box
- I play with my dog
- Making sure I get enough rest – particularly if I’m finding it hard to sleep
- Gardening or being around greenery makes me feel really peaceful
- I go for a run or exercise
- Taking time for myself like meditation or mindfulness exercises
You can help spread hope by joining Samaritans in sharing the ways that you allow yourself to feel more hopeful when things are difficult.
Taking the time to check in on a friend or loved one is one of the most effective ways to let them know that you care and can help you spot any changes in their behaviour. It could be as simple as a quick text or meeting up for a coffee. It’s not always obvious when someone is struggling, so starting conversations like this is really important.
Let them know that you want to know how they are doing, and that you will listen without judgement. Sometimes, it can be an instinctual feeling to try and solve problems, but often it can be more helpful to just listen.
Suicide is an emotional topic, and there is still a taboo around it. If you are nervous about starting a conversation, we’ve gathered a list of online resources from mental health and suicide prevention charities that may help:
Raising awareness about suicide and how we can better support our loved ones is a crucial aspect of suicide prevention. Starting the conversation is an important first step, but remember that you need to take care of yourself as well. The mental health charity, Mind, has some really helpful advice for looking after yourself whilst supporting someone who feels suicidal.
There is always hope, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Suicidal thoughts can be overwhelming, but they are temporary and can be interrupted. It can take something as simple as asking someone how they are really feeling or letting someone know that you are there for them without judgment.
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