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Suicide

Suicide can be prevented and
Headspace is here to help.

What is Suicide

Suicide means ending your own life. It is sometimes a way for people to escape pain or suffering. When someone ends their own life, we say that they "died by suicide." A "suicide attempt" means that someone tried to end their life, but did not die.

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What can I do if I am thinking of committing suicide?

Thinking about suicide is scary. You may have strong feelings that are hard to deal with. You may feel like things will never be better, but you are not alone. Many people think about suicide. Thinking about suicide does not mean that you will do it. It does not mean that you are "going crazy." Thinking about suicide is often a sign that you want to escape. But remember you are not alone. There are many who do feel this way. 

How can I protect myself from suicide?

No one can say that they will never have thoughts of suicide. You can do two big things to help prevent suicide. The first is to build connections with other people. The second is to find help for mental health problems.

Build connections with other people

Feeling connected to others is a big part of protecting yourself from suicide.

• Spend time with family and friends.
• Go to cultural or religious events.
• Get involved in your community. For example, sign up for classes at your community centre or college.
• Help others. For example, help out a charity or other group. 

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Get help early for mental health problems

Mental health problems are a big part of suicide. You can help protect yourself by finding help for mental health problems early.

• Feeling like nothing makes you happy anymore.
• Feeling very sad or hopeless for many weeks.
• Feeling like you cannot cope with things that happen in your life.
• Feeling very stressed or scared for many weeks.
• Noticing strange thoughts or noticing strange things that do not go away. Some people hear voices that other people do not hear.
• Sleeping less or more than usual.
• Eating less or more than usual.
• Drinking more alcohol or using more drugs than usual.
• Taking a lot of time off work or school.
• Avoiding family and friends.
• Feeling "run down" or sick often.
Talk to your doctor if you notice these signs. Your doctor can see what may be causing the problems. 

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What are warning signs of suicide?

Some people talk openly about thoughts of suicide, but many people keep their feelings secret.
There are warning signs to show that someone needs help. You often see many warning signs happening at the same time. Here are some warning signs:

  • Flashbacks or nightmares about the traumatic events
  • The person talks about wanting to kill themselves.
  • The person uses more drugs or alcohol than usual.
  • The person says they have no reason to live.
  • The person seems very scared or worried.
  • The person says that they feel like there is no way out of a situation.
  • The person cannot see hope for the future.
  • The person does not want to spend time with others.
  • The person has a hard time controlling their anger.
  • The person does things that may be dangerous and does not think about what might happen.
  • The person’s mood changes in a big way.

How can I help someone who is thinking about suicide?

If you are worried about someone else, it is important to talk about suicide. Talking about suicide will not give them ideas. You need to talk about it to figure out how you can help.

Start by asking the other person if they want to end their life soon and if they have a plan. 

Extra Support

If they do not have a plan to end their life, they still need extra help. You can help by listening to the other person. You can also help them find extra support.

 If they do want to end their life soon and have a plan, it is an emergency. Do not leave the other person alone. Call the suicide crisis line. They can send emergency workers if you need them. Stay with the person until the suicide crisis line workers or emergency workers say you can leave.

Many people feel like they are all alone with their painful feelings. Listening shows them that they are not alone. You do not have to say much at all. You just have to be there for them. Here are some important things to remember:

• Take the other person seriously. They are in pain and they need help.
• Show the other person that you are a good person to talk to. Do not judge them or make fun of them.
• Trust is very important. Do not make promises that you cannot keep.
• Show that you understand they have a serious problem. Do not give advice like, "cheer up" or "pull yourself together."
• Say things like, "You are really important to me" or, "I don't want you to die." You can also say, "It makes sense that you feel like you do, but I can help you find other solutions." 

Ask if they can talk to someone about their feelings. It could be a family member or a friend. It could also be a doctor or counselor. You can also give them the phone number for the crisis line. The people who run crisis lines are trained to help others. They can help with many different problems.

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Getting Help

Looking out for a friend or loved one is an important part of preventing suicides. In South Africa there are 23 suicides a day recorded and 230 serious attempts.

You can call SADAG to talk on behalf of a loved one, colleague, or friend.

Trained counsellors are there to help and refer you to local counsellors, facilities and 
Support Groups. 

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0800 12 13 14

SADAG Helpline: 0800 567 567    SMS: 31393 

Lifeline SA Helpline: 0861 322 322

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