World Suicide Prevention Day 2021

Every year, organisations and communities around the world come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2021

Yorkshire and the Humber have the highest rates of suicide in the country, for both men and women. Help us to change this.

We’re happy to be working alongside Hull City Council and ReNew to raise awareness about suicide prevention. This page aims to educate local people on suicide prevention, dispel some common myths around suicide and encourage individuals to take action and check in on their friends, family members, colleagues or strangers. There will also be a series of videos posted on our social media accounts leading up to World Suicide Prevention Day on Friday 10th September 2021.

Below is some useful information on suicide:

What are suicidal feelings?

Suicide is the act of intentionally taking your own life.

Suicidal feelings can mean having abstract thoughts about ending your life or feeling that people would be better off without you. Or it can mean thinking about methods of suicide or making clear plans to take your own life.

If you are feeling suicidal, you might be scared or confused by these feelings. You may find the feelings overwhelming.

But you are not alone. Many people think about suicide at some point in their lifetime.

What does it feel like to be suicidal?

Different people have different experiences of suicidal feelings. You might feel unable to cope with the difficult feelings you are experiencing. You may feel less like you want to die and more like you cannot go on living the life you have.

These feelings may build over time or might change from moment to moment. And it’s common to not understand why you feel this way.

How you might think or feel

  • hopeless, like there is no point in living
  • tearful and overwhelmed by negative thoughts
  • unbearable pain that you can’t imagine ending
  • useless, not wanted or not needed by others
  • desperate, as if you have no other choice
  • like everyone would be better off without you
  • cut off from your body or physically numb
  • fascinated by death.

What you may experience

  • poor sleep, including waking up earlier than you want to
  • a change in appetite, weight gain or loss
  • no desire to take care of yourself, for example neglecting your physical appearance
  • wanting to avoid others
  • making a will or giving away possessions
  • struggling to communicate
  • self-loathing and low self-esteem
  • urges to self-harm.

How long will I feel suicidal?

How long suicidal feelings last is different for everyone. It is common to feel as if you’ll never be happy or hopeful again.

But with treatment and support, including self-care, the majority of people who have felt suicidal go on to live fulfilling lives.

The earlier you let someone know how you’re feeling, the quicker you’ll be able to get support to overcome these feelings. But it can feel difficult to open up to people.

You may want others to understand what you’re going through, but you might feel:

  • unable to tell someone
  • unsure of who to tell
  • concerned that they won’t understand
  • fearful of being judged
  • worried you’ll upset them.

If you feel like this, you might find it helpful to show our pages on supporting someone else with suicidal feelings to someone you trust. This can be a good way of starting the conversation and can give them suggestions of how they can help you.

It’s important to remember that you deserve support, you are not alone and there is support out there.

Common causes of suicidal feelings

Struggling to cope with certain difficulties in your life can cause you to feel suicidal. These difficulties may include:

  • mental health problems
  • bullying or discrimination
  • different types of abuse, including domestic, sexual or physical abuse
  • bereavement, including losing a loved one to suicide
  • the end of a relationship
  • long-term physical pain or illness
  • adjusting to a big change, such as retirement or redundancy
  • money problems
  • housing problems, including homelessness
  • isolation or loneliness
  • being in prison
  • feeling inadequate or a failure
  • addiction or substance abuse
  • pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal depression
  • doubts about your sexual or gender identity
  • cultural pressure, such as forced marriage
  • other forms of trauma.

If you are unsure of why you feel suicidal, you may find it even harder to believe that there could be a solution. But whatever the reason, there is support available to help you cope and overcome these feelings.

Men and suicidal feelings

Research shows that men are more at risk of taking their own life.

It’s not clear why more men than women take their own lives. But if you are identify as a man, you may:

  • feel pressured to ‘get on with things’ and keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself
  • choose suicide methods that have a lower chance of survival
  • believe you can cope without help, or feel you have to cope without help
  • worry that you will appear weak if you talk about your feelings or seek support.

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) works to prevent male suicide in the UK. CALM offers support to men in crisis via a helpline and webchat.

Across our area, men can also access Qwell – a free, anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing service which can be accessed anywhere using a computer, smartphone or tablet device.

Asking someone if they feel suicidal or are planning to end their life may not feel like the right thing to do but in fact professionals do recommend asking direct questions about suicide.

It might seem scary to ask someone if they are feeling suicidal, but it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be an expert to show someone that you care. Often just being there for someone and doing small things can be really valuable.

How to ask someone if they are feeling suicidal

If someone feels suicidal, talking to someone who can listen and be supportive may be their first step towards getting help. They could talk to someone in their life. They could also talk to a professional such as a doctor or therapist, or a trained listener at a helpline.

If you feel able to listen, you could ask them about how they are feeling. It could help if you:

  • Ask open questions. These are questions that invite someone to say more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’, such as ‘How have you been feeling?’ or ‘What happened next?’
  • Give them time. You might feel anxious to hear their answers, but it helps if you let them take the time they need.
  • Take them seriously. People who talk about suicide do sometimes act on their feelings — it’s a common myth that they don’t. It’s best to assume that they are telling the truth about feeling suicidal.
  • Try not to judge. You might feel shocked, upset or frightened, but it’s important not to blame the person for how they are feeling. They may have taken a big step by telling you.
  • Don’t skirt around the topic. There is still a taboo around talking about suicide which can make it even harder for people experiencing these feelings to open up and feel understood. Direct questions about suicide like ‘Are you having suicidal thoughts?’ or ‘Have you felt like you want to end your life?’ can help someone talk about how they are feeling.

How can I help someone with suicidal feelings?

It can be very distressing if you are worried about someone who feels suicidal. They may have talked about wanting to end their life, or you may be concerned that they are thinking about it.

You might feel unsure of what to do, but there are lots of things that might help. You could:

  • encourage them to talk about their feelings
  • encourage them to seek treatment and support
  • offer emotional support
  • offer practical support
  • help them think of ideas for self-help
  • help them to make a support plan

Why is it safe to ask if someone feels suicidal?

Asking someone if they feel suicidal or are planning to end their life may not feel like the right thing to do but in fact professionals do recommend asking direct questions about suicide. Some people worry that this might indirectly encourage the person who is feeling suicidal to act on their feelings, but in reality research has shown that speaking openly about suicide decreases the likelihood of the person acting on their feelings.

Asking simple, direct questions can encourage them to be honest about how they are feeling. Many people feel relieved and less isolated when they are asked.

What to do in an emergency

If someone has attempted suicide, call 999 and stay with them until the ambulance arrives.

If you’re worried that someone is at immediate risk of taking their own life, you should do the following if you feel able:

  • you should remove anything the person could use to harm themselves
  • stay with them
  • get emergency help.

There are lots of myths that often surround suicide. Below are some common myths accompanied by the facts.

Suicide is preventable, and knowing the facts about it can help you intervene and make a difference in someone’s life. Here, we debunk six common myths about suicide to help you save lives.

If a person is seriously considering suicide there is nothing you can do?

Most suicidal crisis are time limited.

People who are contemplating suicide are often in unbearable pain, physically, emotionally or both.

Solutions can be found with the help of concerned individuals who support them through the crisis period.

If you ask a person about their suicidal thoughts, you will encourage the person to kill themselves?

Asking someone directly about their suicidal feelings will often lower their anxiety level and act as a deterrent. The crisis and resulting emotional distress will already have triggered the thought in a vulnerable person.

Your openness and concern in asking about suicide will allow the person experiencing pain to talk about the problems which may reduce his or her anxiety.

This may also allow the person with suicidal thoughts to feel less lonely or isolated, feel listened to and very possibly relieved that they are able to speak about it

People who talk about suicide don’t complete suicide?

Eight out of 10 people who take their own lives give definite warning signs of their suicidal intentions. People who make suicidal attempts and threats must be taken seriously.

A person who is thinking about suicide will always be suicidal?

Most people who are at risk feel suicidal for only a brief period in the lives.

With assistance and support they can get through this difficult period.

Suicidal people rarely seek medical attention?

About 75% of suicidal people visit a medical professional within three months of a suicide attempt.

Suicide happens without warning?

Suicidal persons may give warning clues regarding their suicidal intentions. Alertness to these help seeking behaviours may prevent suicidal behaviour.

#TalkSuicide – FREE Suicide Prevention Training

The #TalkSuicide campaign has been created by the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership to reduce the stigma around talking about suicide by raising awareness of free suicide prevention training available from the Zero Suicide Alliance. The 20 minute training will teach you how to SPOT the signs when someone is feeling suicidal, how to SPEAK to them in a supportive manner and how to SIGNPOST them onto the appropriate services.

TAKE THE TRAINING. SAVE A LIFE. #TALKSUICIDE  – www.talksuicide.co.uk