How to prevent suicide in depression is the big question that has been raised about suicide, every day experts try to find answers.
Studies show that more than 90% of people who commit suicide have depression or some other mental disorder. Why can someone want to take his own life? How can it be achieved that the person does not feel like dying?
It is common for people who have depression also have suicidal ideation, although only some are those who reach that point. However, we should know that suicide and the tendency to commit suicide are not normal responses to stress.
How to Prevent Suicide
Depression is a mood disorder, which causes a sense of loss of interest and deep sadness. It totally changes the way of thinking, feeling and behaving of the person who suffers it. In fact, the individual may feel that he does not have the energy to perform basic daily tasks, and that the activities that he used to be passionate about no longer produce that sensation.
All this is very linked to the desire to die, the affected experiencing that living is not worth it.
Here we are going to see how this situation can be prevented. For this purpose, alarm signals, protective factors and techniques that will help the person recover the desire to live will be defined.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 800,000 people commit suicide every year; 75% of these cases being located in low and middle income countries. In addition, suicide is the second cause of death among people 15 to 29 years of age.
The 2013-2020 Mental Health Action Plan is currently underway, with the goal of reducing suicide rates by at least 10%
Risk factors Under what conditions is it most likely to occur?
– Depending on the severity of the depression: if the symptoms are very accentuated and it is very difficult for the person to do an independent life, it is more likely that in those states the person has suicidal ideas. For example, the form of major depression is going to be more extreme, then there is more discomfort and the person is more likely to consider suicide.
– Having had more suicide attempts in the past. It is considered the greatest risk factor for committing suicide in adults. A meta-analysis of follow-up studies estimated that individuals who had attempted suicide were 38 to 40 times more likely to commit suicide than those who had not attempted suicide.
On the other hand, according to the American Foundation for the prevention of suicide, between 20% and 50% of people who commit suicide have had another attempt in the past.
– Violence in the family environment.
– Have firearms at home.
– Family history of substance abuse, mental disorders, or a history of suicide.
– Having suffered physical or sexual abuse.
– Lack of support or social isolation .
– Present chronic diseases , especially those who suffer from chronic pain.
– Have witnessed suicidal behavior of other people nearby.
– Alcoholism or substance abuse.
– Have experienced a very stressful event recently.
– Being or having been in jail.
The first step to avoid suicide after a depression is to identify the warning signs and be vigilant from the first warning to seek help.
Risk factors can vary depending on age, sex or ethnic group, and usually appear in combination.
The most common alarm signals are:
– The person continually thinks about death and talks a lot about it.
– Manifest risky behaviors that could put you in danger of death, such as reckless driving or passing the red lights.
– Important loss of interest.
– Negative and hopeless verbalizations such as: “I’m not worth anything”, “I’m just a nuisance” or “I’m desperate”, “I can not do it anymore”, etc. The most revealing phrases of a suicide could be: “it would be better if I did not exist”, “I want to disappear” or “live is not worth it”.
– Contact other people to say goodbye, or write letters.
– Talk about suicide, and even comment that he wants to carry it out.
– Make some decisions, put things in order or tie loose ends as if you were leaving certain things resolved before you die.
– Sudden change from being very sad and flattened to feeling more calm, fantasizing about disappearing and interrupting their suffering.
Before any of the signs you have to act and not let them pass, you can not think that you are trying to get attention and ignore the person. Just in case, it is better to go as soon as possible to ask for psychological help.
There are also a number of factors that have been shown to prevent the person from reaching this decision. They would be the opposite factors to the risk, in addition to:
– Social support
– Have religious beliefs
– Be a father, mother or take care of a child (especially a small one) or a pet. In fact, there are many people with depression who are recommended to adopt a pet, taking charge of it.
How can you prevent sucidium?
Once the factors discussed above are taken into account, there are several alternatives that can be very useful.
It is necessary to understand that suicide is an attempt to escape suffering that has reached an unbearable point, and that the person only sees that the only way to alleviate it is with death. In fact, they want to find reasons to continue living, but they find themselves in a situation that, accompanied by depression, they see that there are none.
That is why it is important to try to make a positive change in the person’s life, generating feelings of usefulness, exposing oneself to new potentially pleasant situations, feeling capable of achieving some objective, being able to see the good things that he / she is capable of doing, or who is wanted or needed.
The first thing: determine the level of danger
If it is suspected that a relative is at risk of committing suicide and has depression, it is essential to assess the danger in which the person is. For this, it is necessary to take into account if the following aspects are fulfilled:
– PLAN: having a specific and defined suicide plan increases the likelihood that it will be committed.
– MIDDLE: the probability grows even more if the person has what it takes to carry out the plan as pills or weapons.
– TIME ESTABLISHED : it is more serious when it has been planned until the moment in which it is going to commit.
– INTENTION: refers to the person is totally convinced that he wants to reach the extreme of suicide.
If these aspects are present, the most important thing is to ask for help when before and to remove the person from all the instruments that could be harmed. In addition, it is essential not to leave you alone under any circumstances.
Here are a number of aspects that are very useful to prevent suicide after depression:
– Dealing with depression: obviously the first step to avoid suicide is to go to a professional as soon as possible to intervene in depression, which we can say is the main reason that causes the person’s discomfort. We have to act on the causes to obtain new results and not to mask the problem.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is usually used , demolishing negative beliefs and cognitive distortions, while pushing the person to do little things little by little.
That is, a gradual change of behavior that shows the person who is able to get up and even get out on the street through easy to achieve daily goals. If the patient achieves the objective of the day, it is reinforced and rewarded, and if it does not, a more simple goal is established.
It may be advisable in some cases antidepressants before starting therapy to give a “push” to the patient to follow the indications of therapy. However, drugs without psychological therapy do not give adequate results because they do not help to solve the problem.
Sometimes we encounter the problem that the person with depression does not want to go to psychological consultation. An advice for the family can be to take the affected person to have a medical check-up and explain the symptoms, probably diagnose the depression and send the patient to the psychologist or psychiatrist.
There is usually less resistance to going to the doctor than going to mental health professionals directly.
The following aspects are normally already covered by psychological treatment, but it is worth knowing them:
– Social support, feeling heard and understood: the fundamental thing to prevent suicide is that the person receives adequate support from family and friends.
But not any support can be beneficial for a person with depression. These patients need to be taken seriously by the people around them and be listened to with a lot of patience and understanding.
It is difficult to put yourself in their place, but you have to try to listen to them without judging them. It is important that people in the environment understand what depression implies, assuming it is a very serious and disabling disease and does not mean lack of will or laziness.
Some of the things to avoid are trying to take the idea away from the affected person’s head, arguing with them, demanding things or becoming angry.
However, it should be mentioned that it is common for loved ones to get too involved and end up feeling exhausted and frustrated. It can even happen that they want to “act as therapists”.
It is important not to commit this error, we must not take responsibility for the depression or suicidal ideation of others, it is something that the affected person must resolve with the help of a professional, while those close to him will serve as a support or guide to facilitate the recovery of the person.
What benefits a person with depression and suicidal ideas is to feel that people really care about her and that she has unconditional support that values and respects her despite everything. The way to communicate this can be with verbalizations such as:
- You are not alone in this, I am here for you.
- You do not see it now, but I assure you that what you feel will change.
- Maybe you can not understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and I want to help you.
- You are important to me or you are very valuable
- What could I do right now to help you?
Never tell these people:
- It’s all in your head.
- We have all lived moments like that, they are bad spells.
- You have to see the positive side of things.
- You have many things to live for, why die?
- What’s happening to you? Should not you be better now?
- I can not do anything to improve your situation.
– Make the person aware of their condition: that is, increase their awareness of illness. It is appropriate for the person to know their diagnosis, the symptoms of depression, how it works, how it affects the person’s life, etc.
By reaching this understanding you will be more prepared to overcome your problems. This occurs because the patient assuming his problem accepts that it is a condition that can be solved by struggling, and that his experiences and discomfort are the product of illness.
– Never leave him alone and prevent him from accessing dangerous instruments with which he could commit the attempt.
– Stay away from the consumption of alcohol and / or drugs: as many substances can accentuate the symptoms of depression when it is under its effects. In many cases, suicides are committed when they are in this state of intoxication, which normally gives the individual the necessary courage to carry out the suicidal behavior.
– Follow-up of the treatment: it is very important that the treatment is not interrupted and that the evolution of the patient is monitored. Family members can be there to make sure that they continue with the indications given by health professionals. If, in spite of everything, the affected person worsens, it is necessary to persevere and return to consultation to find more effective treatments.
– Change to positive habits: if a person with depression is living with the family, it can be of great help to promote positive lifestyles that contribute to improve the mood and have a more active life. For example, control the meals by eating a healthy diet, go out every day to nature or sunbathing, start doing physical exercise in company, etc.
It can be complicated for a person with depression to adapt to these habits, so it is better not to force him because it would cause more discomfort. This condition is very difficult to carry and for these people something as easy as getting out of bed each day can be a huge achievement.
– Increase your activity: for example, give you very small responsibilities that can be easily obtained, such as asking you to do a specific household chore. It is fundamental here to make the person aware that he has done something correctly. For example, say: “Very well, I saw that you threw the garbage” or “Thank you for accompanying me to buy.”
In this way we are making the person make small behavioral changes that will affect their mood and weaken depression.
– Offer help: it is good for the person affected to know that they can count on other people for what they need, but we must not forget that it is strange that someone with depression has the initiative to contact you or invite you to do something. The most usual situation is isolation.
Therefore, it must be the people around you who take the initiative to call you, include you in plans or visit you. It may even be advisable to insist a little to encourage them to carry out any activity or even talk on the phone.
It is important to maintain this support and be perseverant no matter how much the depressive person tries to isolate himself.
– Make a safety plan in case the person thinks about committing suicide: for example, a series of steps that he commits to commit in a suicidal crisis can be developed together with the patient. To do this, you must identify the triggering factors such as having consumed a substance, a stressful event or the anniversary of a loss.
It is also essential that, if you have a person close to you with this condition, you have the contact number of the health professionals who treat the patient the most, and their relatives or friends who could go in case of crisis.
– Discuss and talk openly about the subject of suicide: there is a myth that, if we talk about suicide with someone, we invite you to do so. But it is not real. At the bottom of his being, the person is eager to find reasons to live and a good conversation could be enlightening.