Suicide and the importance of asking for help.

If you are having problems with a class, you know you can get extra help. If you have a broken leg, you know to go to the doctor and get help. Unfortunately when it comes to mental health, and having thoughts of desperation, self-harm, or suicide, people need to be reminded that it’s okay to ask for help. When someone feels so desperate and alone, to be told that someone cares and is there to listen and help, sometimes that is all that is needed to have them reach out and get the help that is so desperately needed. I write this coming from a family that has been through suicide and having a mother who has travelled across Canada speaking in schools and communities on the subject of suicide prevention and getting the message out there that someone really does care and it’s okay to ask for help.

For the people that feel so alone, it is essential that they understand that however bad you feel right now, you won’t feel like that forever. Things will change, and they will get better. Reaching out to someone doesn’t have to mean to go to a professional. They certainly have an important role, but reaching out to a friend, family member, or even a school instructor or neighbour can be enough to start the conversation. It is hard to make that first step, but believe me, it is worth it. From all the success stories that my mother told, to the friends I have personally helped through their own battles, I can assure you that nobody wants to die. They just needed their situation to change, and reaching out to someone is the first step to that change.

For the people that feel so alone, it is essential that they understand that however bad you feel right now, you won’t feel like that forever. Things will change and they will get better.

Three simple things can mean all the difference in the world if someone comes to you for help. Stay with the person, or find someone that can stay if you can’t. Don’t leave them alone. Listen, really listen.

There are a couple key things to look out for with friends or family, like how they talk about themselves, how they act, or things that have happened in their life. Keep an eye out on people who have recently lost a loved one, someone who has previously attempted suicide, or high amounts of stress in home life or school, or a major breakup of a romantic relationship. Notice how these people are talking about themselves, if they keep referring to themselves as a burden or being trapped or having no reason to live, and if they are discussing a desire to kill themselves. There can also be actions, like an increase in alcohol or drug abuse, extreme mood swings, or giving away priceless possessions. While you should take notice of these things, you should also remember that suicide victims are not trying to end their life – they are trying to end the pain!

Don’t always try and solve their problems, but just listen and do not judge. We all need to learn to listen. And get help for them. It is important to understand that no one expects anyone to be the one and only person that is going to help. But everyone can be that first very important step in saving a life.