It’s World Mental Health Day 2019 and we want everyone to talk about their thoughts and emotions today (and every day).
We all experience challenging days, challenging weeks, and sometimes challenging months and years. Some people have more than their fair share of life difficulties and disruptions. Some people find it hard to cope with life events that others seem to find a breeze.
What’s really important is that we know what’s going on in the inner worlds of our family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. OK, we don’t need them to spill the beans about everything in their lives, but finding some time and space to tell people that you’re there for them and that they can talk to you about anything, can make a real difference. They might never take you up on that offer, but they will know that there’s someone there for them should they need it.
This year on World Mental Health Day, the very important theme is suicide prevention.
The advice ‘WAIT’ is one good way to remember how you can support another person who may be suicidal. It stands for:
Watch out for signs of distress and uncharacteristic behaviour.
- e.g. social withdrawal, excessive quietness, irritability, uncharacteristic outburst, talking about death or suicide.
Ask “are you having suicidal thoughts?”
- Asking about suicide does not encourage it, nor does it lead a person to start thinking about it; in fact it may help prevent it, and can start a potentially life-saving conversation.
It will pass – assure your loved one that, with help, their suicidal feelings will pass with time.
Talk to others – encourage your loved one to seek help from a GP or health professional. You can also encourage them to try some mindfulness so they can learn to manage difficult thoughts and emotions and develop greater resilience to the challenges of life.
You may wish to share the graphic below, which summarises suicide prevention advice. You can share it any day, not just on World Mental Health Day.
If you yourself are feeling like ending your life, please call 999 or go to A&E and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health care professionals who work with people in severe distress.