Signs of suicidal behaviour
• Increased alcohol or drug consumption.
Pattern of suicidal behaviour
There are five aspects of suicidal behaviour:
1) Suicidal thoughts. A person doesn't become actively suicidal suddenly - the process is an accelerating one. A person begins by thinking, "It would be better if I wasn't around." Never ignore what may be a message of a suicidal thought. The person needs to be listened to and taken seriously.
2) Suicidal threats. This is anything that a person says or does that indicates intent to self-harm. Suicidal threats are sometimes not recognised and can be overlooked. All threats should be taken seriously.
3) Suicidal gestures. These are generally regarded as extreme forms of communication calling attention to the person's plight. They can involve physical injury to oneself or others, or reckless behaviour like overdosing, alcohol abuse, dangerous driving. All are indicators of emotional distress and a cry for help. Not all such gestures, however, can be interpreted as suicidal.
4) Attempted suicides. Attempted suicide is a serious and potentially lethal event. It can leave the person emotionally and/or physically devastated, possibly for the rest of their life.
5) Suicidal death.
Helping in a suicidal crisisMost people who have died by suicide have done so when they
have been alone.
• If help has been called, stay with the person until help arrives.
• If emergency services are not needed, encourage or assist the person to get appropriate professional help.
• Encourage the person to talk - listen without judgement. Be polite and respectful.
• If the person is consuming alcohol or drugs, try to prevent them from taking any more.
• Try to ensure the person does not have easy access to some means to take their life.
• Give reassurance about the short-term nature of feeling suicidal.
2. Endogenous Depression: is internally caused when there is a drop in the body’s natural Seratonin chemical levels. No external factor or mood plays a role here.
3. Secondary Depression: where a depressive episode is secondary to another psychiatric illness. Eg. Phobic states.
4. Nuerotic Depression: can occur when someone has poor coping skills and is faced with a life-event. This is very common and occurs where people have a poor self-image.
5. Manic Depression: is where the person’s mood alternates between depression and elation.
6. Seasonal Adjustment Depression (S.A.D.): with people who suffer from this, depression is common in winter and mania in summer.
|www.mentalhealthireland.ie- promotes positive mental
health and actively supports people with a mental illness, their families
and carers by dentifying their needs and advocating their rights.
Department of Health and Children: www.dohc.ie - Provides information about the government health services available in Ireland.
Oasis: www.citizensinformation.ie - Provides links to sites public service information for Ireland, including everything from dealing with bereavement to social welfare entitlements. It is readable in five languages – English, Irish, Polish, Romanian and French.
www.suicideprevention.ie is a voluntary project by Irish doctors this sites is a joint initiative of Suicide Prevention Ltd (a group of Irish doctors and other professionals), and ElectricAid, a corporate social welfare initiative of the ESB (see below for more details).
www.depression.ie This site offers a huge amount of easily understood information on Depression.
The site is offered as an information service for those with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, and for those who know them (which could therefore be seen to involve almost everybody in Ireland, just like in any other country !)
www.nosp.ie National Office of Suicide Prevention
The NOSP works closely with the HSE Resource Officers for Suicide Prevention
NOSP's functions are to oversee the implementation of 'Reach Out' the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention, Co-ordinate suicide prevention efforts around the country, and Speak regularly with agencies and individuals interested and active in suicide prevention.
www.suicideorsurvive.ie Suicide or Survive Ltd (SOS) provides services and supports aimed at suicide prevention in Ireland.
www.aware.ie Aware is a voluntary organisation formed in 1985 by a group of interested patients, relatives and mental health professionals, whose aims are to assist that section of the population whoses lives are directly affected by depression.
Websites for young peoplewww.reachout.com.au - a site that helps young people through touch times.
www.youth.ie - A site that focuses on youth in Ireland today.
Visit the National Office for Suicide Prevention on www.nosp.ie for information including contact details for crisis support and links to other useful web sites. The NOSP’s funding was frozen at €4.5 million in 2008 amid an outcry from politicians and advocacy groups concerned about suicide prevention. You are advised to contact the organisation to see if funding is available to community groups.
Meanwhile, the ESB’s Electric Aid Programme Fund identifies suicide, along with homelessness, as funding priorities and over €1 million has been dispersed from this fund. More info: www.esb.ie
Also helpful is the National Suicide Research Foundation, based in Cork. It is an official research unit to contribute to the prevention of suicidal behaviour in Ireland. Highly regarded; it is the Irish focal point for information regarding suicide and its prevention by the World Health Organisation. Check it out on: www.nsrf.ie
Aware Defeat Depression, 72 Lower Leeson St., Dublin 2. Tel. 01-661-7211.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.aware.ie Counselling service (24 hours, 7 days a week): 01-6766166.
If you are interested in volunteering, call 1890 200 091 (ROI) or 08705 62 72 82 (NI).
More info: www.samaritans.ie
Officers, trained to deal with suicide intervention, have been employed by every local authority in Scotland and the World Health Organisation has applauded Scotland's approach to destigmatising suicide and promoting mental health.
More info at: www.chooselife.net
(These tips on suicide prevention were published in print form in previous
issues of ‘Changing Ireland’ and won recognition from the
Samaritans for our “frank” approach to the issue. For further
information and case-study examples of what Community Development Projects
have done to prevent suicides, see our Archives, particularly Issue 15
and Issue 16
Many of the tips on this page came to us through North
Clondalkin CDP whose local ‘Buzz’ magazine highlighted the fact
that there were seven deaths in the community from suicide in 2005 and
gave pointers for how people could help out in a suicide crisis.