Across the world, countless people die by suicide each year – that’s one every 40 seconds.
It’s the top cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years and it’s noticeably higher in men, with around three times as many men taking their own lives compared to women.
However, when was the last time you stopped to check in with a friend, colleague or family member that you think might be battling with their mental health?
Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day, a day that reminds us that suicide is needless. Being a good listener and helper can make a huge difference in someone’s life who is struggling to cope.
What is World Suicide Prevention Day?
It’s an awareness-raising event that’s held each year on 10 September. World Suicide Prevention Day is organized by International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’ is the subject matter this year, and it was chosen worldwide just to emphasize that what can we can all do to help those who are struggling to survive.
Why is it important?
More than 6,000 people die by suicide a year – an average of 18 people a day. It’s also the leading cause of death for men under 50.
This day is considered to tell us that reaching out to people who are suffering through difficult times can make a difference, since many people who are feeling low can feel like their problems are a burden for others, or that those around them don’t care.
Even your small action like offering a cup of tea and letting someone feel listened to can save a life. Yes, it can!
What you can do on your part?
Meet up with a friend, co-worker or family member if you think that they are having a hard time and they need you. If you’re not sure how best to help someone, here are few helpful listening tips:
Show you care
Your focus and attention should be on the other person whom you are talking to. Make eye contact and humbly listen to whatever they say plus put away your phone.
It may take time and numerous attempts before a person is all set to open up. So stay calm and wait.
Use open questions
Use open questions that can help you out in knowing more about the survivor and their journey. Follow up with things like, “Tell me more about it”.
Say it back
If you’ve understood, let them finish what they want to say. Don’t disrupt or present a solution.
Don’t get sad by a negative response and most vitally, don’t feel you have to fill a silence.
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