Learn the Signs of Suicide and How to ACT

Suicide is fast rising into the leading cause of death for 18 to 25-year-olds, therefore, it is vitally important to know the signs and how to help someone who may be at risk of it. Research shows that most people who attempt suicide give some sort of clue before they make an attempt. Therefore, understanding the words and/or actions of someone considering suicide can save a life. Learn how to recognize those signs and how to respond to them.

How can you be aware of warning signs of suicide in those in your life?

  • Listen to those around you. People who are considering suicide often talk about it to someone in their life ahead of time. If someone says they’re feeling trapped, are a burden to others, or have no reason to live, ask them whether they’ve thought about suicide. Take them seriously and help them get to resources that could save their life.
  • Be aware of others’ moods. If someone in your life seems to be feeling depressed, irritable, or angry or has lost interest in things that they used to care about, they may be struggling with depression.
  • Notice people’s behaviors. If someone is acting recklessly, increasing their use of drugs or alcohol, has unusual sleep habits, or is looking for means to kill him or herself, you should have a conversation about suicide. Asking someone about suicide won’t put the idea in their mind, but it might be your chance to help connect them to resources they need.

How do you talk to someone in your life about suicide? MindWise Innovations developed the acronym ACT for a simple way for people to remember how to respond when someone opens up to you about suicidal thoughts. ACT stands for Acknowledge, Care, Tell.

  • Acknowledge. Validate rather than dismiss their thoughts and feelings. It can be difficult for someone to bring up suicidal thoughts, and if you don’t take them seriously, they may shut down and not come to you again.
  • Care. Show that you care by listening carefully and taking what they say seriously. It might be hard for you to hear but listen without judgment. You can’t help them if you don’t know what they’re experiencing. It might also be good to ask them how you can help. You may not know what to do, and they may not either, but offering to help and asking what they need can be a great first step in showing that you care that they’re here and stay here.
  • Tell/Treatment. You can help them get treatment by offering to accompany them or suggesting a step they can take. But you also may not be the best person to get your friend or family member the help they need. If not, you may need to tell someone in the person’s life what is going on.

Suicide is most often caused by untreated behavioral health disorders that could be managed if the individual gets help. Whether you’re close with the person in distress or not reach out and offer help. You don’t know how much they might need you to do so.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you can call 0800 200 600 for counseling or search for Rehab centers in Uganda.


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