Suicide Warning Signs and Emotional Wellness Tips
That Could Literally Save Lives
Guest Blog Post by Melissa Howard of StopSuicide.info
“Today in Canada approximately 11 people will end their lives by suicide.” This shocking statistic serves as the opening line to the Suicide in Canada website. That’s right; we lose 11 people per day, thousands of people per year, to suicide in Canada alone. Each of those 11 people are humans, just like you and me, with families, friends, coworkers, and loved ones. Each of those 11 individuals had thoughts, feelings, dreams, and unfulfilled potential. And each of those 11 deaths could have been prevented.
Given the statistics, there’s a chance you might already know someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts. Perhaps that person is you or one of your loved ones. Whatever the case may be, it is important to understand you’re not alone and help is out there.
By understanding the warning signs, asking for help, prioritizing emotional wellness, and implementing daily self-care routines, it is possible to prevent many of the suicides that are happening throughout our nation each and every day. Read on for some expert tips and techniques that could potentially save lives, possibly even your own:
Suicide prevention starts with emotional wellness and coping strategies. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each person is different and so each individual will have a different method of dealing with stress and caring for his or her mental, emotional, and psychological needs. That being said, here are a few things you could try:
- Exercise. Exercise is often recommended for those who are living with depression and anxiety. This is because exercise helps fight depression and anxiety. Through boosting our mental health, it may even help curb suicidal thoughts. Of course, it can be difficult finding the motivation to work out when you’re anxious or depressed or if exercise may lead to worsening of other mental health issue like an eating disorder or body image disturbance.
Yoga and meditation. Like exercise, yoga and meditation have been shown to boost mental health, including reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Get plenty of sleep. Getting adequate sleep is more than just a crucial part of any healthy lifestyle; it has also been linked to mental and emotional health and may play a role in suicide prevention.
Childhood nostalgia. As odd as it sounds, some psychiatrists are now recommending engaging in nostalgic activities from your childhood, such as watching your favorite cartoons or reading your favorite childhood books, as a means of stress reduction. This coping mechanism takes your mind off your stresses by reminding you of happy moments from a simpler time in your life.
- Abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse has been linked to suicide (see below)
Suicide and Substance Abuse
Did you know there’s a connection between substance abuse and an increased risk of suicide? Experts say substance abuse increases risk factors for suicide, including interpersonal struggles; altered perceptions of reality; and biological changes to brain chemistry. If you’re already dealing with mental illness, depression, or anxiety, or if you have a past history of suicidal thoughts and tendencies, abuse of drugs and/or alcohol may only amplify your risk.
When to Seek Help
If you’ve tried all the advice listed above and you’re still battling suicidal thoughts and tendencies, it might be time to seek further help. There is no shame in seeking help; after all, this is an important step that could possibly even save your life. If you’re experiencing warning signs such as a preoccupation with thoughts of death or dying; feelings of hopelessness; impulsive behaviors; or have a history of suicidal thoughts or attempts, please seek help. You can always reach out to a suicide prevention hotline, pastor, counselor, therapist, doctor, psychiatrist or other licensed professional for expert help. There’s no reason to go it alone.