My experience with suicidal ideation

Good morning guys,

I hope you are all keeping well , I thought I would share with you my experience yesterday. You may be aware that I work in the mental health sector and yesterday was a day that I hadn’t experienced before. One of my students was close to suicide. It was very unnerving to find that someone’s life was hanging in the balance and it was my duty to help them during this distressing time.

Throughout this pandemic, there has been a rise in suicide and it’s made me think about what we should do when we are confronted with a suicidal situation.There are 3 key stages to suicide and at these points, we can enter and try to ‘save a life.’ In stage one, you may notice the person’s mood lower and their behaviours begin to change. In stage two, the person is close to suicide and they begin to dissociate and possibly distort reality and the final stage is after the suicide attempt. Each stage brings with it a different opportunity but, through each stage, it’s important to be calm and supportive and to look after your own mental health.

Stages of suicide:

Stage 1

Although this stage is not typically considered suicidal, there is a strong link between depression and suicide. Around 40%to 70% of depressed patients have suicidal thoughts. The signs to look out for in potential suicide risk are: pressing suicidal thoughts, feelings of hopelessness, feelings of guilt, a strong desire for action and direct and indirect announcements of suicide. Another indicator is self-harm, which people may engage in to alleviate psychological pain and withdrawing from social events. If you notice these signs you should strongly encourage the person to see a GP.

Stage 2

In the moment, when the person is close to the point of attempting suicide, you may find they are in a dissociated frame of mind and in their own mental bubble. At times, people use dissociation as a way to cope with too much stress. You may notice the person becoming disconnected from themselves and the world around them; forgetting about certain time periods, events and personal information; feeling uncertain about who they are or feel little or no physical pain.If someone is in this frame of mind you can help them by helping to bring their attention to the world around them and move the focus from the way they are feeling. By doing this we help the person to feel calmer, safe, connected and validated. If you are not physically with the person, call an ambulance or try to arrange for another person to be with them.

Stage 3

Immediate danger, if you are with someone who is at serious risk of harm or who has hurt themselves and you think their life is in danger call 999 for an ambulance.If you are not confident in calling for an ambulance you can call 116 123 to speak with a trained Samaritan’s volunteer.After calling an ambulance there are several ways you can support the person. You can stay with them online, on the phone or in person. You could also offer to go with them to a follow-up appointment. Alternatively, if you feel overwhelmed, it’s OK for you to decide that you are not able to be there for someone. You can ask Samaritans to call them and see if they want to talk.

Please, remember to look after yourself during these trying times and I hope this information helps you.

We all need to stick together at this time and to be prepared for every eventuality.

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