Suicide Prevention Month
September is known around the world as suicide prevention month. It is important to acknowledge that there are many people around the world who suffer from mental illnesses that are sometimes more powerful than their mind. Unfortunately, nearly 800,000 people die each year from suicide world wide, although rates are highest amongst men, women are 2-3 times more likely to attempt suicide, in addition to higher rates of attempts within the transgender community compared to cisgender individuals. It is also important to acknowledge that for every loss of life due to suicide, there are nearly 20 other people who attempt suicide. Although this number is shocking, even more people suffer silently with suicidal thoughts every day. Someone you see everyday; a family member, friend, or others you know could be suffering. We have put together some of the warning signs to look out for to help prevent more losses of life to mental illness.
1. Engaging in risky behaviour/acting without thinking
Often this sign comes from less care about their own life. They do not think of the consequences as they have less of a care for their own life. If you are concerned by a friend's actions, talk to them and see if there are other signs. Unfortunately, this can be often interpreted as someone rebelling against something rather than them not caring about their own wellbeing.
2. Withdrawal from friends and family
Although you may not notice that a friend or family member is isolating themselves from others close to them this can be one of the biggest signs. Often, this is caused out of fear of their thoughts, and they want to be alone, withdrawing themselves from anyone who can help them. This can be seen the other way around as a catalyst for suicidal thoughts. If an individual feels isolated or alone, after losing friends or a family member, dark thoughts may be triggered leading down the path of suicidal thoughts. For more ideas on how to support a friend who may be self-isolated you can check out the CU Learn Module for Supporting a Friend Workshop.
3. Lack of sleep
Often this lack of sleep is caused by thoughts running through your brain keeping you awake. These thoughts can often be negative, however it could also be from thinking of events that have happened, will happen, or may happen as well. Often these lead to restlessness. When an individual lacks sleep, they have less energy to complete daily tasks where it may seem like they are being lazy.
4. Anxiety/uncontrolled anger/mood changes
Many other mental health issues are linked to suicidal thoughts. While stress, anxiety, and changing moods are normal and common throughout one’s lifespan regardless of a mental illness diagnosis, they can be a warning sign when they significantly impair daily functions.
5. Increased substance abuse
Substance abuse can include drugs or alcohol. This indicates less care for their own health and well being, or seen as a coping mechanism for issues they may be facing. Many individuals try to turn to substances to ease the pains of the world, although more often than not, this creates an addiction making their issues worse.
It is important that we as the Sprott and Carleton community look out and check on one another. Familiarize yourself with the warning signs and check in on your friends if you notice a change in their behaviour. Although it may seem like a small gesture, it could be all it takes to save a life. We are here as a community to lean on each other in times of need and support each other when things get difficult. If you yourself are having suicidal thoughts or heightened levels of anxiety, depression, or stress, please reach out to a professional for help. If you, or someone you know is struggling, we have attached some links that we recommend you look into.
Stay Safe and Sprott Love