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21 December 2011

Combating suicide

LifeLine Johannesburg was established in 1969 (42 years ago). The non-profit organisation exists to facilitate the emotional wellness of individuals and communities that it serves.

LifeLine Johannesburg was established in 1969 (42 years ago). The non-profit organisation exists to facilitate the emotional wellness of individuals and communities that it serves.

LifeLine national counselling line: 0861 322 322

  • The suicidal caller who is seeing suicide as an option.
  • The caller who has already made the decision and is dying.
  • The third party caller who is concerned about someone who is attempting or about to attempt suicide.

  • Loss/anticipated loss
  • Stressful events (including university examinations).
  • Hopelessness/perceived inability to bring about change/difference
  • Feeling invisible
  • Poor problem-solving skills
  • Depression/mental illness
  • Crime and violence
  • Exposure to family violence
  • HIV/Aids, cancer – social stigma
  • Loss of support/resources
  • Change
  • Academic pressure – parents/examination stress/fear of failure/fear of disappointing loved ones
  • Conflict within the home
  • Relationship problems – rejection                                                                                                                               
  • Low self-esteem                                                                                             
  • Shame or a shameful incident
  • Financial stress
  • Alcohol/drug/gambling addiction
  • Stress
  • Rape/incest
  • Feelings being experienced by a suicidal person may be:
  • Desperate
  • Angry
  • Guilty
  • Worthless
  • Lonely
  • Sad
  • Hopeless
  • Helpless
  • Their resulting thoughts (and possible verbal expressions) are:
  • “I can’t do anything right”
  • “I just can’t take it any more”
  • “I wish I were dead”
  • “Everyone will be better off without me”
  • “All of my problems will end soon”
  • “No one can do anything to help me now”
  • “I just can’t keep my thoughts straight any more

  • Call LifeLine and if necessary, come in to see a counsellor (face-to-face)
  • Talkto anyone who will listen:
    • Spouse/Partner
    • Parents
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Student Counsellors/Guidance Counsellors
    • Lecturers/Teachers
    • Religious heads, e.g. Minister, Priest, Rabbi
  • In an emergency, contact the police, paramedics or ambulance service.

  • Ask them to talk to you – and then listen to them!  Try not to be afraid of the intensity of the despair and do not try and convince them why their life is worth living i.e. but you have your future ahead of you, you are intelligent and …  This is probably not the suicidal person’s reality at this moment in time.
  • Watch for actions that correspond with thoughts:
    • Withdrawal (family, friends, university/school, work) - “I can’t do anything right”
    • Abuse of alcohol, drugs - “I just can’t take it any more”
    • Reckless behaviour - “I wish I were dead”
    • Extreme behaviour changes - “Everyone will be better off without me”
    • Impulsivity - “All of my problems will end soon”
    • Self–mutilation - “No one can do anything to help me now”, “Now I know what they were going through”
    • Loss of interest in hobbies - “I just can’t keep my thoughts straight any more”
    • Giving away possessions – “I won’t be needing these things anymore”.
  • Watch for physical signs:
    • Lack of interest in appearance
    • Change/loss in sex interest
    • Disturbed sleep
    • Change/loss of appetite, weight
    • Physical health complaints.
  • Referthem to a psychiatrist, doctor, psychologist, social worker or to LifeLine to help them work through their depression and suicidal thoughts.

  • Try to keep a work-life balance. (Emotional wellness is one of eight dimensions of optimal health and wellness. Wellness is the dynamic process of becoming aware of, taking responsibility for, and making choices that directly contribute to one’s holistic well being and that of the common good. It is the integration of body, mind and spirit and the ongoing development of one’s own meaning in life.)
  • Do physical exercise, according to their fitness level.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Do relaxation exercises.
  • Talk about their stress and share their feelings of stress, feeling overwhelmed, fear of failure and what that means.
  • Surround themselves with supportive people.
  • Make time to relax i.e. listen to music, watch a movie, go for a walk.

 
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