Every 10th of September marks World Suicide Prevention Day, which provides an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide prevention.
Various events and activities held on this day aim to raise awareness about suicide, which is one of the major preventable causes of premature death.
Suicide Rates In Australia
Suicide has a massive effect on the Australian population, whether they are experiencing it first-hand or supporting others who are going through it. In 2020, there were approximately 3,139 suicide deaths at a rate of 12.1% per 100,000 population.
Men accounted for around three-quarters of those deaths and have been the highest in years compared to women. Behind these numbers are tragic incidents of a life cut short and families and friends left behind.
Suicide is a significant public health concern not only in Australia but also across the globe. There is a public interest in this topic to raise awareness and encourage people to seek help.
These initiatives, such as World Suicide Prevention Day, can help people be aware of the warning signs of suicide and direct vulnerable people to sources of support.
Creating Hope Through Action
The theme for this year’s suicide prevention month is ‘creating hope through action,’ which has an underlying message that deaths from suicidal thoughts and actions are preventable.
In addition, the focus of this year’s event is to promote the importance of taking action – no matter how big or small – to support those people suffering from mental crises.
To provide the right support, one key way to do is to become aware of potential warning signs. Although these ‘signs’ can be difficult to spot, you may observe some noticeable changes in a person’s behaviour.
Some common warning signs include being sad or moody, sudden calmness, withdrawal from others, or changes in personality, appearance, and sleeping patterns. Showing dangerous or self-harm behaviour is also a warning sign of suicide.
Every year, world suicide prevention day exists as a platform to raise public awareness and promote preventative measures to reduce suicide rates and attempts globally.
To take part in the event, we include some tips on how to help someone who is potentially suicidal.
3 Tips To Help Someone With Suicidal Thoughts
Here are some ways to support someone who may be struggling with despair, depression, or thoughts of suicide.
Understand The Warning Signs
Being able to recognise the warning signs we mentioned above can aid in suicide prevention. It helps us identify the symptoms that typically go unnoticed and see the mental health symptoms the way we do with physical illnesses.
If you notice someone is struggling and started showing signs of suicide, reach out to the person by checking in with them and showing you care.
The very nature of people with suicidal thoughts is that they are not likely to reach out. This is mainly because they feel trapped, alone, and a burden to others.
Reaching out and offering support in times of need will significantly reduce a person’s sense of isolation. Knowing someone cares can make a big difference in their lives.
Ask About Their Feelings
Experts suggest discussing the topic of ‘suicide’ and compassionately having a talk with the person is the key to preventing it.
One way to help prevent deaths from suicide is to openly talk about mental health issues. Being able to discuss this topic help dispel the stigma and create a safe space for others to open up about their feelings.
Take The ALGEE Steps
The ALGEE method is part of the mental health first aid procedure in helping someone who is suicidal.
ALGEE Action Steps include:
- Assess for risk of suicide or harm
- Listen non-judgmentally
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage appropriate professional help
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies
It is critical for us to take action to provide support to people who are going through difficult times. Let them know that they are not alone and that there are resources available that can help them get through it.
Learn Mental Health First Aid
Mental health first aid is the help given to someone developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis.
Knowing MHFA allows you to help a person with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts and behaviour until professional treatment is given or the crisis is resolved.
Recognising the signs and early intervention of mental health problems can lead to better outcomes.
Together we can save lives. Learn mental health first aid as support to world suicide prevention day.