Fact: life is precious
Life is precious, every heartbeat matters. Every living thing strives to prolong their existence. However, human beings are the only creatures known to take their own lives. Why is that? Globally, more than 1.6 million people die by suicide annually! In Kenya alone, in just 3 months, more than 500 suicide cases have been documented.
The main contributing factor
Fact: 70% of suicide cases are men. Similarly, men are the most affected when it comes to mental health wellness. As we speak, the ratio of female to male patients in the facility is 1:9. We live in a society that makes it extremely difficult for men to ask for help whenever they feel overwhelmed. This is a major contributing factor the rise in suicide cases: the fear, or inability to reach out when everything gets so overwhelming.
The final symptom of a longtime battle with depression
We need to understand that people who attempt or commit suicide are not selfish. Begin to imagine how frustrated the person must feel with their current life that they’d rather not keep living at all! In most cases suicide is the final symptoms of a long battle with depression.
There are many circumstances and feelings that can push a person to resort to suicide. In most cases, some of the things that overwhelm you might appear simple to others, and some of the things that overwhelm others might appear simple to you. For this reason, it is important to note that you must never downplay the emotions of others. Instead, validate them even when you can’t really relate to their situation.
Validating and Invalidating feelings
Validating sound like “you must be going through so much I can’t imagine how frustrating that must feel… I know you are trying your best… its okay to feel what you’re feeling… I might not know how to help at the moment but I’m here to listen to you… is there anything I can do to help you feel better. Validating does NOT sound like: you need to be stronger than this… there are many people depending on you… you don’t look that depressed… I’ve had it worse… change your attitude… just stop being sad, there’s so much to be grateful for”
Our choice of words matters I hope that from the examples, you are able to see the difference between Validating and invalidating.
There are many ways to make someone feel validated. Sometimes we fear reaching out to people who need emotional support because we are not sure what to say to them. Most of the time, all you need to do is listen, and Practice empathetic listening. Most of the time suicidal people want to feel heard, seen, and understood. You can accomplish all that by empathy and listening.
Take care of yourself too
Most importantly, when you feel its all overwhelming for you, to a point where you feel your wellbeing declining, you are allowed to protect your energy. Caring for someone who depends on you for emotional support can be overwhelming, you can’t fill from an empty cup. You are allowed to reach out to the friends and family of that person so that you can all come up with better ways to support the person. You are allowed to refer them to a mental health professional, a person who is particularly trained to handle such cases.
Therapy plays a big role in suicide prevention. It helps us view the situation from different angles, helps us understand underlying issues that led to the decision, helps us adapt better coping mechanisms, encourages us to seek support and enlightens us on ways we can support ourselves as well. Therapy helps us understand ourselves better: our triggers, our limits, our strengths, and how our environment and the things around us play a role in our mental wellness.
On the next blog, I’ll write about the different causes of suicide and the different suicide prevention strategies.
Let me know what new information you’ve learned down in the Comment section.
Please reach out to Oasis health specialty for Psychotherapy, psychiatric consultation, occupational therapy, Substance use rehabilitation and spiritual therapy. All which play an important role in Suicide prevention.