Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and an important reminder that everyone can make a difference to others who have reached the point of wanting to end their lives.
A short conversation with another person can sometimes be enough to make a difference.
The acronym ‘WAIT’ is one good way to remember how you can support another person who may be suicidal. It stands for:
Watch out for signs of distress and uncharacteristic behaviour
e.g. social withdrawal, excessive quietness, irritability, uncharacteristic outburst, talking about death or suicide
Ask “are you having suicidal thoughts?”
Asking about suicide does not encourage it, nor does it lead a person to start thinking about it; in fact it may help prevent it, and can start a potentially life-saving conversation
It will pass
Assure your loved one that, with help, their suicidal feelings will pass with time
Talk to others
Encourage your loved one to seek help from a GP or health professional.
Don’t forget to look after your own wellbeing after having a difficult conversation. You can call Samaritans for free, at any time (24/7) on 116 123. They are there to listen to you. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you yourself are feeling like ending your life, please call 999 or go to A&E and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health care professionals who work with people in severe distress.
(Thank you to the Mental Health Foundation for this helpful advice, and to Paul Pritchard for drawing it to our attention)