Happy World Mental Health Day!
2019’s theme of World Mental Health Day is “Suicide Prevention”. Research reveals that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression are highly prevalent among survivors of road traffic accidents’ victims. A practical instance is one of Health Emergency Initiative’s beneficiaries who is currently a female patient at LASUTH. She was involved in a road accident which left her unconscious for almost 72 hours. Even, after she had gained consciousness, her mental health is still distorted while her speech is incoherent and can remember little or nothing about herself. She is suffering from PTSD as a result of the road traffic accident shock and needs mental health attention.
PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event while depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, decreased energy, guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite and poor concentration. These two identified states of mental health can lead to patients being suicidal.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has becomes unbearable, blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness and isolation. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.
Signs of Suicidal Person
Dramatic mood swings or sudden personality changes, seeking out lethal means, preoccupation with death, getting affairs in order hastily i.e. making a will. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again. Withdrawing from friends and family and sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to attempt suicide.
How to Prevent Suicide
- Pay Attention; almost everyone who attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Don’t ignore even indirect references to death or suicide. Statements like “You’ll be sorry when I’m gone,” “I can’t see any way out,” no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal thoughts.
- Offer help and support: let the person know that you care that he/she is not alone. Listen to the suicidal person talk, unload despair and anger. Be sympathetic, non-judgmental, patient calm and accepting. Reassure the person that help in some form or another is not far away and suicidal feelings are temporary. If a suicide attempt seems imminent, call emergency responders or take the person to an emergency room. Remove every potentially lethal object from the vicinity but do not, under any circumstances, leave a suicidal person alone.
- Follow-up on treatment: If the doctor prescribes medication, make sure your friend or loved one takes it as directed.
- Be proactive: Those contemplating suicide often don’t believe they can be helped. You may have to be more proactive at offering assistance.
- Encourage positive lifestyle changes: Such as a healthy diet, exercise, plenty of sleep, and getting out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes each day and make a safety plan. Help the person develop a set of steps he or she promises to follow during a suicidal crisis. Also include contact numbers for the person’s doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help in an emergency.
Health Emergency Initiative is committed to a charitable cause and as we press on to save more lives you can EMERGE with us via your donation or volunteer as we uphold and proclaim that NONE SHOULD DIE!