Are you going through a hard time and can’t seem to shake your distress, to the point that it sometimes leads you to think about suicide? Or are you worried about a loved one and wondering how to help them?
Here’s some advice to help you better understand suicidal thoughts and some resources where you can get help.
What is suicide?
Contrary to what you might believe, a person who tries to commit suicide does not necessarily want to end their life. Instead, they are attempting to end their unbearable suffering. It’s neither a courageous nor cowardly act, but a desperate act to stop suffering.
The good news is that there are many ways to ease that suffering.What can we do about depression?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE SUICIDAL THOUGHTS? 🧠
Suicidal thoughts are a warning sign. They can arise in moments of crisis, when the suffering becomes too intense, or as a result of a trigger that is specific to the person in distress.
Having suicidal ideation, dark thoughts or ambivalent feelings about attempting to end their life does not mean that a person truly wants to stop living, but it is a warning sign that must be taken seriously.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT SOMEONE IS THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE? 😟
It’s important to know the signs of distress and pay close attention so you can recognize them in yourself or those around you. This way, you can act as soon as possible and prevent the situation from getting worse. These signs can include:
- Concerning remarks: suicidal ideation can be expressed through remarks such as: « Vous seriez mieux sans moi »
“You’d be better off without me.”
“You’ll be rid of me soon.”
“I don’t want to live anymore.”
“I’m going to end it all.”
“I want to die.”
“They’ll regret it. They’ll see …”
- An interest in or attraction to things relating to death
- A sudden or radical change in behaviour:
👉 Negative change in behaviour: the person, who was generally happy, starts to withdraw, be depressed, aggressive and/or angry, get their back up, etc.
👉 Falsely positive change in behaviour: the person, who had been sad for a while, starts to be cheerful, make plans with friends and resume what appears to be a normal life, despite there being no real change to the circumstances of their life. In reality, they may have found some kind of peace by developing a plan to end their suffering. Stay vigilant!
HOW CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR DISTRESS WITH LOVED ONES OR A SCHOOL STAFF MEMBER? 🤔
It can be hard to talk about how you’re struggling. You might be afraid of being judged, afraid of worrying or disappointing those around you, afraid that the whole school will know; you might think that nothing will change … It’s normal to be afraid, but you have to move past it because talking is the FIRST step towards getting better. It’s important not to be alone in our distress. There are other solutions!The right words for opening up 🗣
HOW SHOULD YOU REACT IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT A FRIEND? 👩🏽🤝🧑🏿
•Mention your concerns: You can tell them factually what makes you believe that they’re not doing well, such as “You’re no longer interested in this thing you loved before.” You can also ask them questions about how they feel, like “Why do you think like this?” “Do you think about dying sometimes?” etc.
💡 Talking about suicide with your friend will not encourage them to act. On the contrary, starting the discussion can be a relief for them and decrease their loneliness, or it can help them understand that they are not alone and that the people around them care about their well-being.
• Encourage the person to contact a support service or take them to see a worker.
👉 Here are some resources you can turn to: Trouve de l’aide ici
⚠ In this process, it’s important to take care of yourself!
If you don’t feel equipped to help someone or if the situation becomes too much of an emotional burden for you, don’t hesitate to refer the person to some resources or tell them that you feel unable to help them right now. It’s important to know your own limits.
👇 Download this sheet from Suicide Action Montréal to learn how to talk about suicide: what you can say or not.How to talk about suicide
❌WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR FRIEND REVEALS THAT THEY ARE THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE, BUT THEY SAY NOT TO TELL ANYONE?
If you feel worried about what your friend has confided, you have to be up front with them. Tell them that you’re going to get help from someone anyway because you’re just too worried. It’s important for them to get the help they need. We don’t want to risk the situation getting worse. It’s also important for you, as a friend, to be supported.
🤔WHAT IF THE PERSON THREATENS TO COMMIT SUICIDE IF YOU TALK ABOUT IT?
As a confidant, we can feel enormous responsibility. The important thing in these situations is to talk to a worker regardless. Don’t forget, a person with suicidal thoughts no longer sees any solutions to their problems, even if there are some.
Your friend might be angry in the moment but asking for support is not betraying the person we love. These are very difficult situations that need expert support. These experts will know how to support your friend and find ways to help them get better. Later, when things are better, there’s a very good chance that your friend will understand your action💙.
WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN ABOUT MCKENZIE AND MARTA’S STORIES ABOUT HOW YOU CAN HELP A FRIEND IN NEED AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
If you’re in a crisis situation in which you might behave dangerously toward yourself, or if, during your conversations, your friend or the person you’re worried about tells you that they have thought up a specific plan* to commit suicide, the situation is urgent.
Don’t wait and:
📞call 1 866 277-3553, go to suicide.ca or text 535353 and you’ll be referred to the prevention centre in your region. If you’re from Montréal, you’ll be referred to Suicide Action Montréal. Your call or conversation will be confidential, and their services are available 24/7.
*A specific plan can be identified using three points: place, method and time.
Resources that suit your needs
Are you worried about a loved one? → Here are some tools to help you
To learn how to talk about suicide → Visit the website of the Association québécoise de prévention du suicide or download this cheat sheet from Suicide Action Montréal
OUR ARTICLES (3)
In this article, you’ll find some information that might help you voice what you’re going through and find solutions.Read the article
With our partner
With the belief that suicide is preventable, the mission of Suicide Action Montréal (SAM) is to help prevent these incidents through greater access to information, quality services and resources. SAM recognizes that suicide prevention is a process and provides direct support to those who are lonely, depressed and contemplating suicide. SAM also assists those left behind by suicide including the family and the individual`s social network, support workers, and/or other professionals involved. The strength of these services relies on the commitment of dedicated paid staff and highly trained volunteers. SAM continues to build its expertise through evidence-based research and learning from other community organizations.