ABORIGINAL CRISIS LINE:
If you are facing a difficult situation, call us now. We can help.
· Adult Crisis Line: 250-723-4050
· Youth Crisis Line: 250-723-2040
· Vancouver Island and through the Province of BC 1-800-588-8717 FREE
How do we stop suicide from happening?
People who experience suicidal thoughts and feelings are suffering with tremendous emotional pain. They don’t necessarily want to die but they do want the pain to end. It is the overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, despair, and helplessness that can make a person look to suicide as a way to end that pain.
The best way to help is to:
• be aware of the signs that a person maybe thinking of suicide. (see signs below)
• Talk to them about your concerns. It is important to ask them directly about suicidal thoughts.
Do not avoid using the word ‘suicide’. It is important to ask the question without fear, and without negative judgment. The question must be direct and to the point.
For example, you could ask:
“Are you having thoughts of suicide?” or
“Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
If you appear confident in the face of the suicide crisis, this can be reassuring for the suicidal person.
• Talk to a counsellor about your concerns
• Give them the number of a counsellor
• Call the Mental Health Team at 250-740-2337
• Contact the Vancouver Island Crisis Line 1-888-494-3888
• Give them the number of the Crisis Line
• Give them the Crisis Chat contact at Chat Now www.vicrisis.ca
• Contact your family doctor
What signs should we look for if we are worried about suicide?
Just one of these signs and symptoms are not enough to be considered a sign of suicide (except the first – suicidal thought) but a combination of them should give you reason to be concerned and seek help in dealing with this person.
IS PATH WARM is a tool for remembering the main signs of suicide.
I – Ideation (suicidal thoughts)
S – Substance Abuse
P – Purposelessness
A – Anxiety
T – Trapped
H – Hopelessness/Helplessness
W – Withdrawal
A – Anger
R – Recklessness
M – Mood changes
Other signs and behaviours to be aware of and that might suggest someone being at risk of suicide include:
• Direct and indirect verbal expressions: “I don’t want to live anymore”, “there is nothing to live for anymore”, “people will be better off without me”
• Dramatic changes in mood
• Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
• Increase in drug and alcohol use
• Risk taking behavior
• Aggressive, impulsive and/or violent acts
• Expressions of hopelessness and purposelessness
• Lack of self-care or outright neglect of self
• Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
• Withdrawal from family, friends, and interests
• Giving away prize possessions and/or making a will
• Reconnecting with old friends and extended family as if to say goodbye
• Previous unresolved or recent suicide attempts
How should I talk with someone who is suicidal?
It is important to:
• Tell the suicidal person that you care and that you want to help them.
• Express empathy for the person and what they are going through. LISTEN TO THEM – let them do most of the talking. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, don’t judge those feelings and look at the reasons for wanting to die. Maybe talk about some of the problems that have led them to this place of despair.
• Reassure them that thoughts of suicide are common and do not have to be acted on.
• Instill a sense of hope for the person.
• Discuss ways to deal with problems which seem impossible to cope with, but do not attempt to ‘solve’ the problems yourself.
As soon as possible, contact the Mental Health Staff here at the Health Centre to receive further assistance at 250-740-2337