Every year, September 10th marks World Suicide Prevention Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the risks of suicide and the challenges faced when trying to prevent death by suicide.
According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), every year suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds. Uganda lies in 17th position on the list of countries where suicide is registered as a cause of death, with 18.67 per 100,000 deaths due to suicide in Uganda.
The World Health Organisation indicates that stigma surrounding mental disorders, lack of awareness of suicide as a major health problem, and a taboo in many societies to openly discuss it, means many people contemplating suicide are not getting adequate help.
Quotes on Suicide
“People always seem so shocked and horrified when they find out someone committed suicide. They then always ask the ‘How?‘
What I want is not the ‘How?‘
But the ‘Why?’
And maybe then, we can prevent it.” – Unknown
“Everybody goes through difficult times, but it is those who push through those difficult times who will eventually become successful in life. Don’t give up, because this too shall pass.” ― Jeanette Coron
“The real reason for not committing suicide is because you always know how swell life gets again after the hell is over.” — Ernest Hemingway
“Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we don’t even remember leaving open.” — Rose Lane
“Suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better.” – Unknown
How to Support a Suicidal Person
According to AFSP, there is no single cause for suicide, although depression is cited as the most common condition associated with it. Warning signs the association advises to look out for include:
- Talking: If someone talks about dying by suicide, feeling hopeless, having no reason to live or being a burden to others, these could be signs that they are having suicidal thoughts.
- Behaviours: Increased use of alcohol or drugs, withdrawing from activities, isolating from people, sleeping too much or too little or giving away prized possessions are some examples of behaviours people might display if they’re feeling suicidal.
- Mood: People who are considering suicide often display moods such as depression, anxiety, shame, anger, agitation, or even relief.
Hire the Youth is encouraging young people to reach out to those who may be suffering from suicidal thoughts. Here’s some advice to try:
- Ask: You can start by asking the question, “Are you thinking about suicide?” which lets the person know that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. It can open the door for someone thinking about suicide to talk about how they feel or what they’re going through. Other questions could include, “How do you hurt?” and “How can I help?” We advise that when asked, friends and family should not promise to keep the person’s thoughts of suicide a secret.
- Keep them safe: It’s important to find out whether the person in question has already done anything to try to die by suicide before being approached. Depending on whether they have a plan in place or if they have access to firearms or other potential weapons, people looking to provide support may need to take them to a respectable hospital or call any rehabilitation service.
- Be there: This could be being physically present for someone or speaking with them on the phone, though it’s important to follow through. This can be life-saving.
- Help them connect: This could include developing a safety plan or a crisis plan, connecting the person with a health professional or calling a rehab centre.
- Follow up: This could be leaving a message to see how the person is doing, sending a text or giving them a call. This type of contact can increase feelings of connectedness.
If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available in various hospitals countrywide. We are also working on creating a suicide and depression hotline to be available 24 hours every day.