Suicide – A ‘Scary' Word

Posted: 10th October 2019

For this year, the World Federation for Mental Health has set the theme as Suicide prevention.

Suicide is a scary word isn’t it?

When you hear the word, some people may shudder or find it uncomfortable as they grew up believing such things shouldn’t be spoken about. Some may feel sad and confused because they don’t understand it, whilst others may be taken back to thoughts of dark days, they themselves have had.

The Word

So yes, suicide is a scary word and that’s because it’s a scary subject, so why should we be talking about it when it’s so scary? Why should it have a stigma? According to the Mental Health Foundation these are the statistics relating to Suicide:

  • “In the UK in 2018, there were 6,507 deaths by suicide (a rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people).
  • With the highest rate in 2018 observed in Scotland (16.1 deaths per 100,000 people), followed by Wales (12.8 deaths per 100,000 people) and England (10.3 deaths per 100,000 people).
  • Overall, men accounted for three-quarters of UK deaths by suicide in 2018.”

Scary word, scary subject, scary statistics – but just because it scares us doesn’t stop it from happening. The number of lives that are taken isn’t slowing down, and it certainly isn’t helping anyone who is struggling with it.

The Stigma

By ignoring something so devastating and permanent we are allowing the stigma attached, to have more power. However, talking about it, trying to understand it and finding out ways that we can help others does make a difference.

Support for All

The Mental Health Foundation have created the acronym ‘WAIT’ which is just one example of how you can be more aware and help support someone you believe maybe struggling with suicidal thoughts.

  • Watch out for signs of distress and uncharacteristic behaviour. For example, 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

If you or anyone around you is suffering with suicidal thoughts or ideation, please get in contact with any of the below support and contacts.