5 important things I learned from National Suicide Prevention Day
On National Suicide Prevention Day I attended a local event run by Suffolk Mind. As someone that connects with people every day that suffer from loneliness, mental health issues and a lack of community, I want to prepare myself to be able to help if someone is feeling suicidal. As mental health becomes more of an epidemic I also want to be in a position that I could help my friends and family without them needing to ask. Lastly as someone who has to be very conscious of managing my own mental health, I find the information very valuable for my own wellbeing too. You never know when someone may need your help. Here are 5 important things I learned from National Suicide Prevention Day, to help you take care of yourself and those around you.
1: There are lots of lovely people waiting to help you
If you are currently feeling suicidal, in a state of despair or in need of some extra help, there are wonderful people waiting and they want to help you. You are not alone. If you know someone that needs help these are the places to go:
*For urgent medical attention: call 999
*For someone to listen: Samaritans 116 123 (free to call) or email: email@example.com
Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You don’t have to be suicidal to call.
2: The biggest reason for calls to Suffolk Night Owls is loneliness
Please find comfort if you feel lonely, you are not alone in feeling that way. Suffolk Night Owls receive the most contact from people that feel lonely. As someone that has personally experienced extreme feelings of loneliness, it really can make you feel like you’re completely isolated from the rest of the world. There are lots of ways to deal with loneliness and as like other emotions it will pass. Things will and do get better. If you, or someone you know, are feeling lonely you can find posts to stop feeling lonely here. If the feelings persist, seek additional help. There is no shame in getting help.
3: When people feel listened to it can save their life
Lots of people feel lonely because they don’t feel heard. A simple conversation can save a life. Samaritans encourage us to listen to the really important things friends, family and colleagues need to tell us. Devote time and attention to being a listener. It can be easy to be too busy, but we must consciously care for those around us.
Here are tips from Samaritans on how to listen and offer support to others:
4: Talking about suicide doesn’t put the idea in someone’s head
If someone is distressed, depressed or not behaving like themselves it is ok to ask them if they feel suicidal. Talking about suicide does not put the idea in their head and if they are having suicidal thoughts, it opens up the conversation so that you can help them further.
If you are feeling suicidal, talk to someone. The people around you want to help you or sometimes it is easier to speak to a stranger, Samaritans are there for you 24/7.
5: There are emotional needs we ALL need to fulfil to live a healthy and balanced life
Most of us find it difficult to identify when our emotional needs are not being met and what we can do about it. Mind identify that we need to fulfil the following for a healthy and balanced life:
Security – to feel safe and secure
Control – and to recognise what we can’t control
Attention – to give and receive it
Emotional Connection to others
Respect – feeling valued by others
Privacy – time and space to ourselves
Meaning & Purpose
Suffolk Mind run an introductory training which will help you understand your own wellbeing, and that of people around you – whether at work, home or in any other context. It will inspire you with practical ideas about making your workplace an environment that enables people to get their emotional needs met, leading to improved performance and healthier people.
I have been on this course and I cannot recommend it enough. If I have a bad day, I revisit the list of emotional needs and can quickly identify which one I’m not meeting and am able to consequently help myself feel better. Sign up here.
If you missed it, I was featured briefly on an interview with BBC Radio Suffolk on the day: