First mental health aid (suicide)

Last Saturday I spent on the course about mental health first aid. The course was aimed for young people but many what I learnt is possible to use in ordinary life with adults as well. Most of the time we learnt how to approach suicide.  How to ask the person, what to ask, how to approach, when might be person calling for help.

I am not going to talk about whole course, but I found some information important to share.

When there is alarm beeping?

If you have someone around who might be very unhappy, complaining about things, feeling and saying to be unmotivated in life, feeling to be without any worth, love you should pay attention. It can be just temporary statement but it might be not. When we are unhappy and lose any purpose and motivation in life there is likely to come suicidal thoughts. This is quite common and most of population have ever had them. The real warning comes when the person starts planning.

What to ask?

If we come across with person feeling down, sharing feeling of being unworthy or without motivation in life it always worth to ask:

“Do you have thoughts about killing yourself?”

It might sound harsh but trust me it is not. I found that people might be scared asking somebody so straight questions, but it is the best what you can do. It is very difficult to say loudly that someone is straggling with such thoughts then say just YES.

Why the question is important?

In most cases just the fact you say loudly you have this thoughts helps and they disappear after. As sooner the person share this thoughts as sooner can get rid of them and not to come to planning process when things get to feel unbearable.

What to do next?

If the person have this thoughts ask him/her about any plans how to do it. Usually there are no plans, but if there would be a plan you need to act and contact close family if it is you then find the doctor/counsellor etc. Don´t leave the person alone.

During this intense day I have realised how often we might try to avoid such direct question. It´s no one to blame, mental health issues are still stigma in society and suicide is one of the most what we try to avoid talking about. By asking directly you can save a life.

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