Suicide, or as we prefer to call it ‘self-delivery’, is shrouded in myths and silence. The most damaging myth is we shouldn’t talk about it.
Thoughts about suicide generally arise because of a range of reason, mostly because life can be pretty fucked up at times. The solutions feel out of reach or just too hard to think about and often include feelings of shame. A number of us at one time or another experience these thoughts as the result of an unbearable pain and distress.
When we meet up with our mates or the people we care about generally the first question is how are you? There are many cues in the responses of a mate or someone we love and care about in trouble but it may not always be obvious. This moment creates an opportunity for us to share and tune in to our friends and loved ones difficulties. Your ‘gut feel’ is important for you to listen to.
Other cues could be what the person is saying and doing don’t always match. Alternately, a friend may be isolating and avoiding because they’re just not coping. In general things that don’t fit with the picture are important for you to take notice of. You might hear ‘ok’ but you are not seeing nor hearing ‘ok’ or you think how could they possibly be ok with all that crap that is happening or has just happened?
I often raise these thoughts with people I care about. I am not being judgmental and my friends often respond with honesty and appreciation when I do. Asking these questions won’t start someone thinking about suicide if isn’t already on their mind. If life is so crap at the moment allowing them the opportunity talk about it will often alleviate the intensity of the thoughts and help them know that you care and they’re not alone.
For too long we have shied away from suicide and self-delivery, because we were unsure what to do. Offer support and ask how you can help. If you get stuck, QLife is there as a support, not only for the person in crisis, they can also offer support, tips, and solutions when you are helping someone. Think of it as mental health first aid. Get them to see their doctor, take them to the emergency department or call a mental health crisis team and most importantly show them you care and they are important to you.
QLife 1800 184 527 qlife.org.au
Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au
Beyond Blue www.beyondblue.org.au
LGBTIQ support services au.reachout.com/lgbtiq-support-services
NSW Health Emergency Information www.health.nsw.gov.au/pages/emergency.aspx