Suicide Awareness Month – Prevention Strategies
In honour of World Suicide Prevention Day & Suicide Awareness Month, we want to take this opportunity to spread awareness and share some suicide prevention strategies.
It is part of our common humanity to experience dark days – days filled with more emotional pain than usual. We experience death, loss of: loved ones, health, jobs, and relationships. Sometimes this emotional pain becomes ongoing in our lives in the form of depression or ongoing grief and anxiety. Some days we may lose hope and it may seem easier to slide into the emotional pain than try to fight it. In these times suicide may seem like a good option.
Effects of Suicide
Family members who didn’t know their loved one was struggling, long lost friends who maybe wanted to connect or were too busy, work or school peers.
Many people don’t realize the intergenerational impacts even that suicide brings.
The warning signs of suicide can often be missed. Suicide is very commonly associated with depression, with a risk as high as 20 times that than those without depression. Traumatic life events and chronic illness also contribute to an increased risk of about 40%. During Covid-19 pandemic, thoughts of suicide have been especially prevalent among those experiencing job loss, and the indigenous and LGBTQA+ groups.
Strategies that Save Lives
Change the Train of Thought
What we also know about suicide is that those thoughts of suicide, although strong and heavy in the moment, will pass. Like other trains of thought, thoughts of suicide can be redirected into paths of peace and hope instead.
Brief Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Suicide Prevention, for example, shows a decrease in suicide attempts by about 70% over several years following treatment. What does this treatment focus on?
The Power of Thought
Our minds and stories we tell ourselves are powerful. Often those who struggle with thoughts of suicide have self stories of not being worthy, loved or good enough. Noticing, reflecting on and checking the truth of these thoughts is critical for recovery. Realizing and recognizing our thoughts are powerful are the first step towards changing them. Notice how your thoughts shape your feelings and interpretations and emotions.
Thinking of times you’ve done hard things before, times of success, times of accomplishment and perseverance helps to build hope.
Studies show hope building protects against thoughts of suicide and bolsters our mental and physical health.
Reasons to Live
Having gratitude and thinking about, visualizing and imagining our current, past and future reasons to live helps build hope and reminds us of the reasons not to die, but to live. To hold on, to fight for, to embrace your strength and push on.
Imagine the events in your future you don’t want to miss – graduations, weddings, trips, whatever you love and have loved even if not in your present life.
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