Sinking into suicide: how to help throw the life jacket

More than 6,000 deaths are due to an individual completing suicide, in the UK. Recently this number has slowly fallen; except in Scotland where it has risen. This means that someone dies from suicide every two hours but the amount of people who have attempted suicide cannot accurately be recorded.

In the United Kingdom suicide is the number one cause of death for people aged between 20 – 34. The risk of suicide is significantly higher in young males, around 75% of these deaths are young men. This is due to the stigma and personal feelings of shame associated with mental illness.

Educating the masses about services to visit, phone, text, or email is excellent. Giving people a safe space is key to overcoming their demons, although I don’t think this is enough. As a community we need to know how we can do our part in help people going through this. People who have decided to end their life have most likely seen all the information on seeking help but they’ve already decided, so why would they seek help? I feel that, as a society, it is also our job to recognise the signs and know what to do when someone is contemplating ending their life.

90% of people who go on to complete suicide have had no contact with their GP or any associated services up to a year before they completed suicide. Assuring people that they are welcome to open up is a good move forward, but what about the people who care about them?

There’s load of things set up to offer help to people but we rarely see anything outlining the signs and symptoms friends, family, or colleagues should be looking for and the actions that should be taken if you suspect someone of having suicidal intent. When people take action on behalf of someone there is a higher chance of saving their life. You’re more likely to complete suicide if no one is aware but 9 out of 10 people who have had a failed attempt to end their life do not go on to complete their suicide.

First let’s talk about risk factors!

More than 90% of suicides are carried out by people who have a diagnosed mental illness – although those with no diagnoses or involvement with services can go on to complete or attempt suicide.

  • Drug and alcohol misuse
  • Trauma or abuse
  • Unemployment / redundancy
  • Social isolation
  • Poverty
  • Poor social conditions
  • Imprisonment
  • Violence
  • Family breakdowns

How you can help others experiencing suicidal ideation:

There are factors that may help people understand or realise how deeply unhappy someone is and who may be contemplating taking their own life.

  • If someone is becoming withdrawn, anxious, or are feeling depressed.
  • If there is a loss of interest in their usual hobbies, their work, their appearance, and their social lives,
  • Feeling as though there is no purpose in life or expressing feelings of hopelessness.
  • Not caring about what may happen to them and acting in dangerous and impulsive ways.
  • Giving possessions to friends, family, or selling them online.
  • Discussing suicide, death, and dying with others.

Although these signs may sound slightly obvious there are more hidden signs of those who go on to complete suicide. People may start discussing how they will “sort everything out” or seem more content because they have made the decision to end their life, so they see their suffering coming to an end.

So here’s what to do if you are worried about someone!

Don’t be afraid to say suicide out loud. There’s no shame in directly asking the person if they have considered or are considering suicide or harming themselves. Suicide is not a dirty word! Speak to them about how they feel and don’t forget to listen! Try and find out if they have a direct plan, the more information the more helpful it is.

Talking is powerful and the person in question may be overwhelmed with relief that someone has asked and putting the topic out for discussion.

Encourage them to seek help. An appointment with the GP, a phone call to NHS24, or even a trip to a&e.

If you’re incredibly worried about this person do not be afraid to call the police, either emergency or non-emergency line! It is vital that if someone is in imminent danger to themselves, or others, that the police be informed. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others to get advice on what to do.

*NOTE* if you have exhausted all of this and the individual does complete suicide do not blame yourself. You are only human and should feel accomplished that you tried your best to prevent this. Sadly the above does not always work but it is a selfless and courageous thing to do to try and help someone through the darkest period of their life.

The sunshine blogger award!

First and foremost I would like to thank Phoenix over at Life successfully / the prose machine for nominating me for this award! I’m pretty overwhelmed to be fresh and new in the blogging scene and already be nominated for this king of award! I initially didn’t think anyone would read my blog and I would just be writing to an audience of internet ghosts – so I’m pretty thankful that someone has taken an interest in my blog enough to want to suggest it to others! A massive thank you Phoenix, I appreciate it!

Now, as required, here are the rules on accepting your nomination:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Now that all that is out the way I’ll answer the questions posed by Phoenix!

1 What’s one thing in the world you couldn’t live without?

This is going to be such a “millennial” answer, but other than the necessary food and water, my kindle and iPad. I use them both several times a day! My iPad is where I do all my blog writing – because I live such a busy life and it’s so light to carry everywhere! I read at such a rate that I need instant access to more books, I’m too impatient to wait for the book shop to open.

2 Tell us one thing about you that people may not expect.

I like to think I’m an open book but the comment I receive most from my colleagues is “you’re actually, like, really smart”. I generally find it pretty offensive, but I must look stupid? Maybe? I think it’s generally because I try and maintain an “unapologetically me” attitude and don’t want to come off as arrogant or such. It’s something that is said a lot and I guess it’s not necessarily a negative thing. It’s nice to be a little surprise to people!

3 What is your greatest pet peeve, in blogging or in life in general?

I don’t have a pet peeve in blogging because I’m fairly new, so don’t feel I can comment. I was struggling with this question and turned to my boyfriend to ask him if I had one and he said “you’re angry at everything, you’re an angry person” – which is completely false / maybe a little true. I strongly dislike people who drive under the speed limit, I find it to be more dangerous than speeding.

4 When you’re not blogging, what’s your favorite thing to do?

I’ve always loved reading and writing. Unfortunately I don’t have a massive amount of time for it these days; what with working full time and moving house! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do more with, which is one of the reasons I created this blog!

5 Is there a certain cause that you’re all about?

Mental health awareness! I mean why else would I have built my entire career around mental health? I deal with the beautiful and ugly side of it and I want to raise awareness anywhere I possibly can! It’s something so close to my heart and something I have so much passion for! I want to educate the world on mental health and help everyone with their own mental illness and mental wellbeing!

6 If there’s somewhere you could go in the world, where would it be?

I’ve been stuck on this question for quite some time but the truth is I love the place I’m in at the moment! Scotland is home, beautiful, and everything I love. Obviously I enjoy travelling and experiencing other countries and cultures; but I could never pick somewhere over Scotland,

7 Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Well in 10 years time I’ll be 35! If life continues along these lines I’ll hopefully be married, have children, live a happy life! I want to be further in my career – preferably earning a masters degree.

8 What is your overall goal with blogging?

I started this without a particular goal. I guess I just want to work on my writing. Improve and enhance in a formal and informal style!

9 How many times have you asked yourself, is blogging worth it?

I’m a pretty low self-esteem person anyway – so a lot! I ask myself why would anyone read this? I’ve convinced myself that no one is into my writing or wants to read it but I’m doing it for me and for fun.

10 If you weren’t blogging, what would you be doing instead?

Probably reading other blogs telling myself that I should probably start a blog.

11 If you could blog about anything, even if you knew no one would care to read it, what would it be?

I would probably just do really poorly constructed reviews on books. I really want to publish some of my writing at some point…maybe

My 11 nominations

  1. Alicja of Popular is wrong / @alicjawlndzk
  2. Emily of Franklymsshankly / @seeemilyyplay
  3. Jess of Jess in wonderland / @xjessbarker
  4. Laura of Look at my clothes / @laurabloom87
  5. Ayse Merle of Ayse Merve demir / @aysemerveblog
  6. Lucy of Lucy goes to Hollywood / @lucyjadebuglass
  7. Annie of Annie’s mind / @anniesull1
  8. Lady Bluebottle of Ladybluebottle / @ladybluebottle
  9. Nick of Manic Grant / @manicgrant
  10. Aimie of Since 1994 / @msaimebabes
  11. Patricia of Coeur de Gemmes / @coeurdegemmes

I’m new to the blogging game but I seriously recommend checking these blogs out! Some of them are well established and some are relatively new, like me.

So the 11 questions I post to the above nominees are:

  • What is your favourite way to unwind and destress?
  • What is your favourite book or author?
  • Why did you get into blogging?
  • What is your favourite word in the English language?
  • What kind of advice is your go to for any situation?
  • What is your current binge-worthy Netflix show?
  • What is one item of clothing that always makes you feel good?
  • How do you keep yourself healthy, physically and mentally?
  • Where do you see your life going?
  • Do you feel a connection with an object?
  • What would you spend £1,000 on?

I’m so grateful to Phoenix for nominating me for this. If any of my nominees accept this from me I look forward to reading your responses.