9: Suicide Warning Signs

**TRIGGER WARNING- there will be discussion of suicide. Please discontinue reading if required and seek support from Lifeline (13 11 14)**

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Last week was National Suicide prevention week which consisted of R U OK day. It was a time for us to check in on our friends and family. I’d like to remind you that it is just as important to ensure those around you are coping EVERY day as it is one day of the year. Nevertheless, the week was one filled with mixed emotions for many. It was a time to be checked on and a time to check on others. There were people that mourned those that have taken their own lives. There were people concerned for those they love and their mental state. There were people contemplating suicide. There were people in remission from previous suicide attempts. The one thing all of these had in common- the effects of suicide are WIPESPREAD.

 New statistics from 2017 show that 3,128 Australian’s took their own life. There is a likely chance that maybe you knew one of these people. Or maybe you knew someone that had known them. There is an even more likely chance that SOMEONE around you is debating whether to end their own life or not. Sometimes it is the people you least expect. Just because someone appears happy doesn’t mean they are. I know this from personal experience. You project to the world who you want to be. There are plenty of people that have ended their own lives and their families had no clue they’d ever considered it. So many people suffer in silence EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

Suicide touches us all in some way or another. Unfortunately, I was one of those people. I was lucky enough to turn my whole world around and recover. However, there were people I met along the way that didn’t. As much as I’d love to sit and preach the importance of National Suicide Week and pretend I never tried to end my own life- I can’t. I’ve grown a ridiculous amount in the past 4 years and I am so thankful to be here. Through my own experience, and watching others battle the demons in their minds, I began to notice signs. I want to be able to share these with you so maybe we can prevent someone from ending their life. SUICIDE CAN BE PREVENTED!

SIGNS SOMEONE MIGHT BE CONSIDERING SUICIDE:

  • Withdrawing- people often pull back on social interaction. They stop putting in the effort they once did. They no longer engage in the activities they once did.
  • Consistently low mood
  • Reckless or impulsive behaviour
  • Giving away sentimental possessions
  • Sleep changes
  • Sarcastic comments about death/dying
  • Self-harm
  • Saying things like “You’d be better off without me” or “I can’t do this anymore. I’m done.”
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Excessive anger
  • Mood swings
  • Physical presentation changes- not showering, unclean clothes, outgrown hair
  • Has threatened to kill themselves or mentioned they are feeling suicidal
  • Plans in place to end their own life

Have the conversation with someone if they are displaying any of these warning signs. Yes, it may be awkward and uncomfortable. At least you’ll know how they feel and be able to support them if they are considering harming themselves. I’m sure you would rather endure five minutes of awkwardness instead of spending the rest of your life regretting not having the conversation before it was too late.

Lastly, be kind ALWAYS. You never know what people are experiencing on the inside.