Suicide. It can be difficult word to say and challenging conversation to have, talking about someone ending their own life. Many languages in the world (including many here in Canada) do not have a word for such a thing.
Suicide in itself is complex. There are psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors that bring people to a space where someone is most vulnerable to suicide. Yet, addressing suicide doesn’t have to be complex. It can start with kindness, care and concern. Sharing these things with someone who you think might be susceptible or at risk of hurting themselves is the first and can be the most important step.
Start by asking someone, are you OK, and be ready to simply listen; not judge and not try to fix what is happening; but simply reinforcing that they matter to you, they are important and how much they belong in your life. Feeling alone in the world can increase the risk of suicide and for someone who has become disconnected from family, friends, their community or their activities – that re-connection and reminding them that you care, can open a path that leads them to the support they require. It becomes the protective component that can decrease the risk they might be facing.
After you let them know you are there for them and you listen to them, encourage them to seek further support from health professionals, family, friends, Elders or others they trust to continue the healing inside that started with your simple question…Are you OK? This is Suicide Prevention Month and the goal around the world is to get more of us to reach out and help saving lives by preventing suicide.
Are you OK. The most important question you can ask today.
If you are currently not OK or know someone who isn’t and want to talk to someone:
Check out MindYourMind where you can access their help page (and be sure to visit the rest of their amazing site) and get connected to excellent tools.
Visit The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention for a list of Crisis Centres across Canada and other valuable information and resources to reduce the risk of suicide.
If you are under 18 and need to talk be sure to call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. Be sure to visit their website for other young people’s stories and experiences.
Regardless of who you call, talk to or reach out to – please do. You matter. You Are Important. You Belong. We promise.