FACTS ABOUT SUICIDE:
People considering suicide are not really ambivalent. They don’t want to die, they just want the pain to stop.
In 80% of cases, the person gives hints or sends out messages to warn others of their intention to commit suicide. These signs can be difficult to read.
All suicidal behavior should be seen as a sign that something is wrong and as a cry for help. Every threat of or attempt at suicide should be taken serious.
Asking a person outright if they are thing about suicide will not put the idea in their head. On the contrary, it opens the door for them to talk about what they are going through.
HELP FOR SUICIDAL:
If you are suicidal, the most important step is to talk to someone. People who are suicidal should not be left to cope alone. They should seek help NOW.
Talk to family or friends. Just talking to a family member, a friend or a colleague can bring huge relief.
Talk to a doctor> If someone is going through a longer period of feeling low, or suicidal, he or she may be suffering from clinical depression. This is a medical condition caused by a chemical imbalance and usually be treated by a doctor through the prescription drugs and or a referral therapy.
Time is an important factor in moving on but what happens in that time also matters. When someone is suicidal, they should talk about their feelings immediately.
If you are feeling suicidal right now and you need someone to talk to simple call us 0800200450 or sign up at www.crisissupport.ning.com. You can also visit our office at Old Mulago Hospital, SB Bossa Mental Health Unit.
COPING WITH A SUICIDE LOSS:
You are not alone!
If you have lost someone, the first thing you should know is that you are not alone. Each year, over 13.5% Ugandans deliberately try to harm themselves, leaving behind devastated family and friends. There are millions of survivors of suicide loss who, like you are trying to cope with this heartbreaking loss.
Some survivors struggle with what to tell other people. Most survivors have found it best to simply acknowledge that their loved one died by suicide.
You may find that it helps to reach out to family and friends. Because some people may not know what to say, you may need to take the initiative to talk about suicide, share your feelings and ask for help.
Even though it seems difficult, maintaining contact with other people is especially important during the stress-filled months after a loved one’s suicide.
Keep in mind that each person grieves in his or her own way. For example some people visit the cemetery and others find it too painful to go at all.
Each person grieves at his or her own pace, there is no set rhythm or timeline for healing.
Some survivors find comfort in community, religious or spiritual activities, including talking to trusted member of the clergy.
Be kind to yourself. When you feel ready, begin to go on with your life for it is not a betrayal of your loved one but a sign that you have begun to heal.
WHY did this happen?
Many survivors struggle to understand the reasons for the suicide asking themselves over and over again. WHY?..
Many replay their loved ones’ last days searching for clues, particularly if they didn’t see any signs that suicide was imminent
Because suicide is often poorly understood, some survivors feel unfairly victimized by stigma. They may feel the suicide is somehow shameful, or that they or their family are somehow to blame for this tragedy.
But you should know that 90% of all people who die by suicide have diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death (most often depression or bipolar disorder).
TALKING TO THE CHILDREN AFTER A SUICIDE
Whether you decide to tell the children about a suicide or not, they will eventually find out. It is very important that they learn it from you than from any other source. This may be one of the most difficult tasks for you if the deceased was a parent, or if there are children who were close to the deceased. Talking to the children about the death may be one of the most difficult tasks you face. But you can’t ignore their needs, especially if you are the primary adult in their lives. As we talk to our children about death, we can discover what they know and do not know – if they have misconceptions, fears, or worries, we can help them by providing needed information, comfort, and understanding. Talking about it may not solve all the problems, but not talking at all will only limit our ability to help and creates more problems. Never underestimate the mind of a child because of their age. Even very young children will be aware of the death of someone in their lives. Allow them an opportunity to ask questions and to get truthful answers because they will find out. If you’re reluctant to talk about suicide – what it means and why it happened – remember that the children are likely to hear about it from other sources, and their confusion will be intensified if they have not had some communication with you. You need to let them know that the suicide victim was unhappy without giving them an impression that death is the answer to unhappiness. You will need to let them know that the deceased felt he had a lot of problems or was ill, without giving them the slightest reason to suspect that they were the cause of the problems or responsible for the illness. They need assurance that YOU will be with them for a long time and that your unhappiness over the death will not be reason for your death.
Older children may be more aware of the circumstances surrounding the death but may be less open about sharing their feelings unless you step in and open up and bring up the subject. They may also feel more responsible than young children and search harder for answers. They may be freer to blame someone – you, for instance. In most cases, children will need some time– a few days at most – to think about the death, to probe their feelings, and to formulate their own questions. Their age and natural openness may make it easier for them to express their feelings and talk about the death. An older child’s growing sense of maturity may prevent him from sharing feelings. Some children, regardless of age, won’t ask questions at all and you need to encourage communication. As comfortable as it may be for you to ‘let it ride’, don’t do it. Children, like adults, need to talk about and share their feelings about the suicide. Their reactions may be similar to yours. They may seem insensitive or they may show more anger, hurt, and guilt, or even seem to be at peace with the circumstance. You need to accept their reactions, whatever they are, even if you don’t fully understand them. Show them you care and that you are and will be there for them.
If communication with a child is difficult, make it a point to talk with people the child has contact with, especially teachers. Teachers need to know what the child is reacting to and they could help you pinpoint emotional responses that may be emerging, such as a change in behavior at school. They can help you reach the child and provide additional support. Whether your children are preschool age or teenagers, be honest and listen to what they say as well as to what they do. Make time to be with them. Accept their feelings and share your own. When they ask questions you don’t have answers for, don’t ignore those questions or make up answers. Especially when the death is a suicide, a lot of ‘answers’ will be “I don’t understand either.” Just as you need emotional, non-judgmental support from someone close to you, your children need your support at this time.