New campaign launched to help public identify ‘signs of suicide’

by Gazette Reporter

A new campaign has been launched by Pieta to help raise public awareness of the warning ‘signs of suicide’.

Usually, January 18 is known as Blue Monday. The date is associated with failed New Year’s resolutions, cold and damp weather with little sunlight, but Pieta say that this single day should not be marked as the cause or side effect of depression.

Depression and suicidal ideation runs much deeper and for many, any day could be considered ‘Blue Monday’ as mental health issues can happen anytime, Pieta remind the public, so it is important to not view this day lightly and instead, make sure you check in regularly on a loved one who may be struggling. 

Calls and texts to the charity’s helpline directly relating to suicide, self-harm and suicide bereavement rose by 25% in December 2020 vs. December 2019. Covid-19 has impacted everything from people’s financial stability to their social habits, resulting in many struggling with loneliness.

Most people who talk or think about suicide simply want to stop the pain they feel, so knowing what signs to listen and watch out for is crucial, say Pieta. They include:

Signs to listen for

  • Engaging in self-harm or risk-taking behaviour
  • Talking or writing about hurting themselves, dying or saying that they want to die
  • Talking about ways to die or having a suicide plan
  • Saying that they are ‘trapped’ or have no options in their life
  • Saying they have no purpose in their life, that they feel hopeless

Signs to watch out for

  • Giving items away or saying goodbye to people
  • Becoming more inward looking and withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changes in sleep patterns – too much or too little sleep
  • Extreme emotions or dramatic changes in mood
  • Increasing use of drugs or alcohol.

Speaking about the ‘Know the Signs of Suicide’ campaign, Emma Dolan, Clinical Director at Pieta, said: “We are calling on the public to look beyond ‘Blue Monday’ and familiarise themselves with the life-saving steps to recognise suicidal ideation.

“Any day of the year can be a challenge for people living with mental health issues so please use this day to think about how you can break down the stigma and raise awareness of these preventative measures.

“In Pieta we have been humbled by the overwhelming generosity of the public with so much good work being done over the past year.

“Our services continued throughout the pandemic and the various lockdowns we hope that the public will support us in our continued efforts throughout 2021.”

Knowing the signs allows you to then follow three simple steps, A.P.R. (Ask – Persuade – Refer) – and just like CPR, it can save a life.

If someone opens up to you, don’t be afraid to ssk them if they are thinking about suicide, with Pieta saying talking to them open is one of the best things you can do.

Once you have asked, calmly and gently Persuade them to seek help or to allow you to assist them. If you cannot persuade them, remember that Pieta’s 24/7 Crisis Helpline is open 24 hours day. As soon as you can, Refer or guide them to help.

For more information and help visit www.pieta.ie 

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