On the outside, everything may look fine. A friend or family member walks through their everyday life with little sign of the soul-eating sadness that lurks within.
A mother stops herself from taking an irrevocable action because she doesn’t want to leave a what she feels is legacy of despair and defeat for her children. But it’s not the first time she’s considered it and it may not be the last.
Listen, don’t judge, and don’t try to solve their problems. You may not understand how or why someone feels the way they do but accept that they are in pain and in need of help.
A co-worker, who was always there to lend an ear to your daily troubles or share a joke to bring a smile is suddenly gone.
A young man struggles with self-identity and sense of his place in the world.
How do you perceive the struggle when so many who carry the weight of depression hide their feelings? And if you do discern the darker thoughts, how can you give your support?
The recent deaths by suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have prompted the Association of Psychology in Newfoundland and Labrador (APNL) to release a statement providing the public with some facts regarding depression, potential warning signs of suicide, and local sources of help for those who struggle with depression and other mental illnesses.
Immediate assistance in Newfoundland and Labrador is available through the Mental Health Crisis Line (709) 737-4668/1-888- 737-4668 or through your local Emergency Department.
How to talk to someone about suicide
Asking someone about suicide will not make them suicidal. It is best to come right out and tell the person that you have noticed some changes or signs that they may be hurting or in need of help, that you are worried or concerned and that you want to help.
If the person admits to feeling sad or hopeless, ask directly if they have thought about hurting or killing themselves. Listen, don’t judge, and don’t try to solve their problems. You may not understand how or why someone feels the way they do but accept that they are in pain and in need of help.
Don’t try to convince them that their way of seeing the world, or the actions they are considering, are bad or wrong. If someone is thinking about suicide and discloses it to you, this is not likely a conversation you can promise to keep confidential. A person feeling suicidal is a person who needs help and you may need to talk to others to help them get it.
Source: www.cpa.ca – suicide fact sheet
What is depression?
Almost everyone feels sad or “depressed” at times. Clinical depression is more than feeling sad. It must include at least five of the following symptoms and last for two weeks or more
Symptoms include sadness, loss of interest in usual activities, changes in appetite, changes in sleep, changes in sexual desire, difficulties in concentration, a decrease in activities or social withdrawal, increased self-criticism, and thoughts of (or actual plans) related to suicide –
Approximately one per cent of Canadian men and two per centof Canadian women are clinically depressed at any point in time. About five per cent of men and 10 per cent of women will experience clinical depression at some point in their life
— Source: www.CPA.ca
Suicide warning signs
• Appearing depressed or sad most of the time (untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide)
• Talking or writing about death or suicide
• Withdrawing from family and friends
• Feeling strong anger or rage
• Feeling hopeless or trapped – like there is no way out of situation
• Experiencing dramatic mood changes
• Abusing drugs or alcohol
• Exhibiting a change in personality, sometime acting recklessly or impulsively
• Losing interest in most activities
• Experiencing a change in sleeping and/or eating habits
• Performing poorly at work or in school
• Giving away prized possessions
• Writing a will
• Feeling excessive guilt or shame
— Source: suicide.org
Visit www.apnl.ca to find a psychologist who can assist with depression and suicidal thoughts.