There is need to prevent suicide in Nigeria. World suicide prevention day is celeberated on 10 September annually. When suicide is completed, all hope is lost. Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. With the rising cases of suicide in Nigeria and the normalization of suicide through its representation on the media, it’s very important we all work towards reducing suicide cases in Nigeria.
Most people can’t relate to the encompassing pain that ending one’s life seems to be the best option for someone. We hope you would. People that commit suicide do not want to die; they only see it as the best option to end the pain they are going through.
In order to effectively prevent suicide, empathy and understanding is a great tool. Understand what the person who is suicidal is going through and empathize. This article would help walk you through what you can do to prevent suicide. Professionals help by providing psychotherapy or medication.
What You Can Do To Prevent Suicide
Don’t ever call bluff on a suicide threat or warning sign
Take all suicide warning signs or threats seriously, even if the frequent talk appears like they are seeking attention or making things up. It’s best to err on caution. People that are suicidal may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need help. Recognizing their agony helps ease the distress of carrying the burden of pain alone.
It is okay to ask people what is going on with them, and why they are acting the way they are. People are often relieved to talk to somebody about it. Asking can also open paths of communication to that vulnerable person that was looking for an opportunity to speak out. It’s important to listen very well to what the person is trying to say and not what you want to hear. Don’t jump to conclusions. Remember these key words – love, understanding, and empathy; try to figure out the best way to talk based on your relationship with the person. You can let them know that they are not alone and create an opportunity for them to talk.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Most people don’t want to say the wrong things when talking to someone that is suicidal. Don’t worry, we are also scared of saying the wrong things. Show you care at all times, and don’t bother about finding solutions until the person is stable. It is best to just listen with the intent to understand, then refer to mental health professionals. Words of encouragement can be used, but very minimal. Do more listening than talking.
One of the reasons why suicidal thoughts and attempt is so stigmatizing is that a lot of people cannot relate with it – “Why would someone try to kill him/ herself?” “Why does someone want to give family members so much stress?” To die is to enter into the world of the unknown, yet it seems to be the best option at that time for a person. Think about the possible pain and hopelessness that the person is going through that moment to consider taking one’s life as the best option. Understanding this puts you in a better position to help prevent suicide.
Confidentiality at All Times
Research points out that suicide attempts survivors are scared of sharing the experience with anyone because they are scared of being stigmatized, scared of it affecting their career and relationships. They do not want to be a survivor and be continually reminded of their darkest time every day. Avoid discussing someone’s suicidal thoughts or attempts.
They should know that they can always talk to you. It’s quite easy to judge people’s feelings. Trust me, it’s easier than understanding. I hear comments like “Is it only because of this or that?” Sometimes, we compare them to others. It doesn’t matter what their feelings are, and it is not our place to judge or compare. Listen to what the person has to say without judging their feelings. Be conscious of your facial expressions and words. When you judge, it reduces the chances of them coming to express true feelings again.
When a person is suicidal, they have lost all hope for a change to their current situation. Instill hope by emphasizing the silver lining on the clouds. Your role is to recommend and not to force the person to accept your suggestion.
- Protective Skills Building
You can enroll the person to learn protective skills. Protective skills are personal or environmental characteristics that help protect people from suicide. Examples are problem-solving skills, resilience skills, self-esteem boost and a sense of purpose or meaningful life, stress management, etc.
Encourage the person to visit a mental health practitioner as soon as possible. You can send us a message to get started.
People with previous attempts or thoughts may still need continued encouragement even when they are no longer suicidal. They may have bad days. Check up on them from time to time.
Limit access to pesticides (such as Snipper), drugs, and firearms. In various countries, this has helped reduce suicide rates.
Careful media reporting about suicide
This applies to both media houses and social media posts by each and every one of us. When certain information is posted, glamourised and detailed in the media, it can lead to copycat suicide. Copycat suicide is one of the reasons people consider suicide.
Suicidal thoughts and attempts aren’t always necessarily about a desire to die. They just want that pain to stop – physical or emotional pain (work stress, heartbreak, etc.). They didn’t want to just continue living with the amount of pain they were going through. Anybody can have suicidal ideation – anybody. There are actually more people estimated to have suicidal thoughts. It is more common than we think.
When To Get Emergency Help
- When the person exhibits psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions
- When the person is clinically depressed
- When suicide thoughts or attempt is substance abuse induced
- When there is a presence of a painful terminal illness from which little to no hope for recovery
- When you feel it in your guts
Suicide Emergency Numbers in Nigeria
Nigeria Suicide Prevention Initiative
Hotlines: 08062106493, 08092106493
Lagos State Help Lines
Hotlines: 08058820777, 09030000741
LUTH Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative (SURPIN)
Hotlines: 09080217555, 09034400009, 08111909909, 07013811143
Please note that we do not provide emergency services for suicide. Kindly reach out to the above numbers.
Do not wait until suicide is completed, you can schedule an appointment for therapy, counselling, or medications to help. You can also send us a message to get started or get quick answers on our frequently asked questions.
Remember, suicide is preventable, and you too can help.
Don’t forget to drop a comment. We’ll love hearing from you.
Until I come your way next time, remember, better day tomorrow.