The tenth anniversary of World Suicide Prevention Day will be marked and recognised throughout the world on Monday, 10th September. The aim of this international event is to highlight the fact that suicide can be prevented.
The phrase ‘suicide prevention is everyone’s business’ is often used to emphasise the message that we can all play a part in preventing suicide. Being aware of the signs of distress, having a positive understanding of mental health and mental health problems, and knowing how and where to signpost someone for help are practical ways we can all contribute to preventing suicide in our community.
According to Anne Sheridan, Suicide Resource Officer, HSE Donegal; “Reducing suicide rates in Donegal will require a collective, concerted effort from all groups and organisations, such as health and other statutory services, community and voluntary groups, sports clubs, business, parents, friends, neighbours and individuals. Everyone can do their bit to develop a culture in Donegal where people in distress don’t hesitate to ask for help. Many communities and groups in Donegal are already working to promote these important messages.”
The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day 2012 is ‘strengthening protective factors and instilling hope’. Important protective factors include resilience which is the ability to cope with and adjust to difficult life events, a sense of personal self-worth and self confidence, effective coping and problem-solving skills and help-seeking skills.
Other factors, such as belonging to your community, faith or social groups and having a strong connection to family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, are all helpful in reducing risk to suicide. Being able to seek help and support from family and friends as well as the health or other support service when you need it is also important. In addition, a healthy lifestyle, which includes good diet and getting enough sleep, regular physical activity and safe use of alcohol, is also associated with reduced risk of suicidal behaviour.Many of the factors that can protect against suicide can be nurtured in families, school life, work life and communities.
If you are worried about yourself or someone close to you, contact your GP or NoWDOC (after hours and week-ends) on 1850 400 911.
If you have been bereaved by suicide, support is available from:
Living Links 087 9286007
Donegal HSE Bereavement Service 074 9123670
Pastoral Centre, Letterkenny 07491 21853
Tips for Building Your Resilience:
HAVE THE COURAGE TO BE IMPERFECT – Try to aim for “not bad at all” or “really quite good” instead of “perfect.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF – Allow yourself time to do things that you enjoy. If you create boundaries around your time and stick to them, others will respect them.
SIGN UP FOR THAT COURSE / JOIN THAT CLUB – Getting involved in community activities can create skills and improve physical and mental well being.
BE ACTIVE EVERY DAY IN AS MANY WAYS AS YOU CAN – being physically healthy is an important foundation for your resilience (see www.getirelandactive.ie)
SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD – Having supportive relationships is a key factor in resilience. Good friendships are as important as romantic or family relationships.
LAUGH OUT LOUD EACH DAY – Laughing reduces stress levels, so look for opportunity to introduce some humour into your day.
GET YOUR SLEEP – You will feel more resilient and be able to handle the stresses of the day when you have had a good night’s sleep. Go to bed earlier and learn some tips on how to improve the quality of your sleep.
IT’S ALL ABOUT TEAM WORK – Tackle difficult tasks first. Learn to ask for help and accept all offers!
REMEMBER – “This Too Shall Pass” – Keep things in perspective. Avoid being overly negative about things. Try to focus on the things you can control.
TALK OUT YOUR TROUBLES – If you let friends and family know when things are tough, they may be able to provide a range of support. This could be listening, giving advice or providing practical support. Sometimes you may need to talk to a professional.