KALMers, do you know that September 10th is a World Suicide Prevention Day? This commemoration aims to bring awareness on how serious the issue of suicide really is. According to data from WHO (2019), 700,000 people die from suicide every year. In addition, suicide also accounted for 1.3% of all deaths worldwide in 2019.
Therefore, KALM also wants to bring awareness regarding this issue. Let’s learn to be more sensitive so that we can help people around us who are in difficult situations and have suicidal thoughts. The end goal of course is to prevent suicide.
WARNING! This article may contain triggering contents. If you feel uncomfortable as you are reading this article, you should stop.
Passive Suicidal Thoughts
Often people think that a person only has suicidal tendencies if he or she has taken an active action/behavior that might risk their lives. But it is actually not like that! A person can also experience what are called Passive Suicidal Thoughts. In this case a person feels like giving up on life without having a concrete plan to commit suicide.
Passive Suicidal Thoughts should not be underestimated as those who experience this will, sooner or later, begin to actively develop plans to take their own lives.
The Causes of Suicidal Thoughts
Some of the things below can be the cause of someone having suicidal thoughts:
1. Mental Disorders
Suicidal thoughts are often associated with mood disorders such as anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, major depression, and persistent depression (dysthymia). It can also be associated with personality disorders, especially Borderline Personality Disorder. Hormonal conditions including postpartum depression and perimenopause can also be a factor. In addition, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often causes suicidal thoughts.
Burnout that is not treated immediately can trigger suicidal thoughts. People who have high-pressure jobs with long working hours and limited sleep are at risk for distress and burnout. Those who are overwhelmed by their condition may choose suicide as a way to escape their situation.
Read Bye-Bye Burnout: How to Prevent Burnout? to know how to prevent burnout.
3. Chronic Physical Illness
People diagnosed with chronic diseases such as cancer are also at risk for suicidal thoughts. They may think that their life is not worth living due to the incurable disease or the constant pain. As a result, instead of living with the disease, they choose to end their lives.
4. Unresolved Trauma
Unresolved childhood trauma can also cause people to want to end their lives. For example, a person who was abused as a child and developed PTSD can be at risk for living with constant nightmares and thinking that there is no safe place in the world. They may start questioning whether life is worth living.
If KALMers find anyone around you experiencing any of the things above, do try to be there for them. Your presence may relieve the difficulties they are facing.
How Can We Help
The first thing you can do when you think someone has suicidal thoughts is to ask questions. Don’t hesitate to ask them, “Are you having suicidal thoughts?” Research shows that asking people who are at risk of suicide does not increase their suicidal ideation. Instead, it will give you information on how to help them.
Other things you can do are:
Suicidal people usually carry burdens that are difficult for them to handle. You can help them lighten their load by listening when they vent their sense of hopelessness, anger, and loneliness.
2. Validate Their Feelings
Empathize with them by being non-judgmental, patient, calm, and accepting. Don’t respond as if what they feel is wrong. Especially bringing the idea of sin.
3. Avoid Trying to Solve the Problem
Avoid offering instant solutions or belittling their feelings. What matters is how much they view the problem and how much they are hurt by it. Rational arguments would be useless to persuade them when they were in this state of mind.
4. Seek Professional Help
It is important to note that currently Indonesia does not have a hotline or specific telephone service for suicide prevention. If you are in an emergency situation, you can directly contact the nearest health facility, such as a health center (Puskesmas) or hospital.
You can also help them by recommending mental health services. A psychologist or psychiatrist can provide tips on managing difficult emotions or circumstances to prevent them from wanting to end their lives.
KALM app is here to make it easier for you to seek professional help. You can do online counseling with a large selection of professional Kalmselor (download here). KALMers, by recommending counseling to people in need you are already help in preventing suicide.
Written by: Rachma Fitria
Translated by: Rachma Fitria
Edited by: Lukas Limanjaya
Nittle, N. (2021, June 30). What to do when you feel like giving up on life. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-to-do-when-you-feel-like-giving-up-on-life-5186949
Schimelpfening, N. (2020, March 26). How to help when a friend is feeling suicidal. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-to-do-when-a-friend-is-suicidal-1065472
World Health Organization. (2021, June 16). Suicide data. WHO. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/teams/mental-health-and-substance-use/suicide-data