Warning signs for suicide and self-harm
By learning the warning signs, anyone can help to prevent suicide by following this advice.
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It is important that we recognise the signs
When people are thinking about ending their life, there are sometimes signs you may notice. They may be feeling distraught and can’t see a way out of their problems.
People show signs in different ways, so it is best to be aware of both verbal and non-verbal cues.
If you're worried that someone is thinking about taking their own life, it's important to talk to them.
People usually don't want to end their life. They want the pain to stop.
There is a sense of isolation and hopelessness if they don't think they have the support to get through it.
Talking to people can reduce stigma and encourage them to seek help, factors proven to lower risks of suicidal behaviours.1
Many people who take their own life give some kind of warning beforehand.
When people express suicidal thoughts, these need to be taken seriously.
Even if you're not sure, it's better to help straight away than to be unsure and not act at all. Talk to the person and get professional advice from others.
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If someone is acting out of the ordinary, this is no cause for alarm but a sign to pay attention to their behaviours.
Some people choose to talk about how they are feeling, however this does not apply to everyone.
They might be feeling hopeless, depressed, angry and irritable, distressed, worthless, exhausted, like there's no way out of their problems or no reason for living at all.
1 World Health Organisation, Towards evidence-based suicide prevention programmes, 2010, p.13. http://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/5497/9789290614623_eng.pdf
2 P.J. Batterham, J. Walker, L.S. Leach, J. Ma, A.L. Calear, H. Christensen, A longitudinal test of the predictions of the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behaviour for passive and active suicidal ideation in a large community-based cohort. Journal of Affective Disorders 227, 2017, p.97.