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World Suicide Prevention Day: Ways to prevent suicide

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The World Health Organisation estimates that almost 800,000 people commit suicide every year, that is a death owing to suicide every 40 seconds. With the World Suicide Prevention Day themed Working Together to Prevent Suicide observed today, here are three quick steps to help prevent suicide.

Learn the warning signs

Most suicidal persons reach out, giving signs, clues and warnings before they seek to take their lives. It is important for people to listen and understand the warning signs. Warning signs include statements that refer to death, suicide or self-harm, even indirectly. “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you again…” and “I’d be better off dead,” “You’ll be sorry when I’m gone,” “I can’t see any way out.”

Increased withdrawal and isolation, self-hatred, hopelessness, pre-occupation with death and a search for lethal options.

Reach out, Speak out

There could be some measure of apprehension in the decision to speak to someone you think is having thoughts of suicide. However, speaking up and reaching out to someone you’re concerned about can never be wrong. Starting such conversations about suicide can be difficult but ultimately helpful. Make sure to ask gentle questions seeking to find out how they feel while listening actively.

Questions like”When did you begin feeling like this?”, “Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?” “How can I best support you right now?” “Have you thought about getting help?” go a long way to help prevent suicide. Still unsure how to start up the conversation? Here are some starters: “I have been feeling concerned about you lately.” “Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.” “I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.”

Offer help and support

It is important to let a suicidal person know he is not alone and that he is loved. Get the person the professional help he/she needs. Encourage the person to see a mental health expert and ensure he/she follows the Doctor’s advice. Keep an eye on the person, remove potential risks of suicide, and keep in contact with the person.

Are you having suicidal thoughts? Know anyone with suicidal thoughts? Call the Nigeria Suicide Prevention Initiative +234 806 210 6493


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