WHEN OK ISN’T OK
Everyday we ask each other ‘How are you doing?’, but do we actually pay attention to the response or are we simply expecting the socially acceptable answer – ‘fine’. In a busy society, we are happy to keep this conversation on a basic level – someone asks the question and we respond positively. However, how many times have you said you are fine when you’re not?
Every year more than 6000 people in the UK and the Republic Of Ireland die by suicide, an average of 18 per day1. Globally, 2,191 people die from suicide every day2. Putting this into context, that is one person every 40 seconds, so by the time you finish reading this article another person will have taken their own life.
Identifying that someone is suicidal is difficult, however, there are warning signs to look out for. These can include3:
• lacking energy or appearing particularly tired
• appearing more tearful
• not wanting to talk or be with people
• not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
• a change in routine, such as sleeping or eating more or less than normal
• using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
• finding it hard to cope with everyday things
• appearing restless and agitated
• reporting that you feel hopeless about the future or that you’ve nothing to look forward to
• not liking or taking care of themselves or feeling they don’t matter
• being un-typically clumsy or accident prone
• becoming withdrawn or losing touch with friends and family
• making preparations, such as sorting a will
• sudden calmness
• feeling like a burden or hopeless
And of course, reporting that they feel suicidal or wish they were no longer here. Any reports of suicidal feelings or thoughts should always be taken seriously and never dismissed.
IF YOU FEEL YOU NEED URGENT HELP OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOES CALL 999 OR GO TO YOUR NEAREST A&E DEPARTMENT
WHAT TO DO IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW REQUIRES HELP
Help is always available 24/7:
• Contact the Samaritans on 116 123
• Contact NHS 111
• Speak to someone you trust, this could be a friend, family member or work colleague.
• Make an urgent appointment to see your GP
If you are concerned about someone else, encourage them to talk. It can be difficult to reach out, but the important thing is to start the conversation. For tips on how to start a conversation visit www.samaritans.org/difficultconversations. Find out more about warning signs and ways to help on the NHS website.
So, next time you ask, ‘How are you doing?’, wait for the response and question if what the person is saying feels authentic. Follow it up. Taking a second to check on someone and make them feel like someone cares is always a good thing.