During this 29th National Suicide Prevention Week, under the theme Talking About Suicide Saves Lives, the social networks and media will flood us with important statistics related to this sad reality. According to the most recent studies by the National Institute of Public Health, the suicide rate for men is 3 times higher than that of women. The rate is highest among 50-64-year-olds, with both sexes being affected equally. A troubling fact, from 2013 to 2015, of the deaths reported among men between age 15 and 34, one-third were by suicide.
Even though we are aware of these facts, some of the people we know still say things like: “Yes, but what can I say or do if someone tells me that they are having suicidal thoughts?” Here is some advice that will help you better manage this type of situation.
Someone you know is saying things that you find worrisome? Have you noticed that they aren’t like they were before; that their alcohol consumption or drug use has increased; that they show signs of depression; that they have stopped doing thing that they enjoyed; etc. Regardless of what you observe, don’t be afraid to ask them a direct question. For example: “I have the impression that you aren’t doing as well these days. I’m worried about you. Are you thinking about suicide?” It’s a myth to believe that bringing up the subject of suicide with someone who is suicidal risks causing them to do it quicker. What you have just done by asking the question directly is showing the person that they are important to you and that you care about their well-being.
If the person answers yes and is currently having suicidal thoughts, do not leave this person alone. If at that moment, you do not feel that you are able to support them, contact your local Suicide Prevention Centre at 1-866-APPELLE. The counsellors will be able to assess the situation and make the appropriate decisions.
If you are comfortable supporting them person, make sure that they seek help quickly. That may mean making an appointment with their family doctor or a psychologist. Or going to the psychosocial services of their local CLSC or to the emergency room of the nearest hospital if the person feels out of control. At any time, if you are not comfortable supporting them, contact your regional Suicide Prevention Centre at 1-866-APPELLE. The most important thing at this time is that the person who is shaving suicidal thoughts not be left alone and that they seek professional help.
Basically, show your support, without judgement. Avoid exaggerated reactions and build confidence by thanking the person for trusting you. Tell the person how important the are to you. Take the time to listen to what the person tells you and don’t jump to conclusions to quickly. Naturally, if an attempted suicide is in progress, dial 911 immediately.
In short, regardless of all good intentions, being a suicide prevention counsellor is not something you can simply improvise. You cannot help a suicidal person on your own. That’s why you must not hesitate to seek help. At any time, if you are uncomfortable with the things that someone you know is saying (parents, co-workers, friends, neighbours, teammates, etc.), contact your regional Suicide Prevention
Suicide Prevention Centre at 1-866-APPELLE. A qualified suicide prevention counsellor can guide you and ensure the safety of the person in need.
Sometimes, we try to play the saviour or downplay certain facts. It’s better to do too much and show that we really care about someone, than to take the chance of losing someone we love. And in a sporting environment, where we sometimes get the impression that you have to perform well at any cost, we sometimes lose sight of the psychological stress that it can cause.
Don’t forget that talking about suicide can really save lives.
Feel like learning more and knowing how to talk about suicide? Go to Howtotalkaboutsuicide.com
Provincial suicide prevention line: 1-866-APPELLE
Pour toute question, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter. Nos intervenants sont formés pour vous aider dans ce genre de situation!
For any question, contact us. Our intervenors can support you regardless of your need.
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Someone you know is saying things that you find worrisome? Have you noticed that they aren’t like they were before; that their alcohol consumption or drug use has increased; that they show signs of depression; that they have stopped doing thing that they enjoyed; etc. Regardless of what you observe, don’t be afraid to ask them a direct question.