CONTENT WARNING: this blog post contains discussion of suicide and suicide ideation.
According to the World Health Organisation’s findings, in the time it takes you to read this blog, an estimated 3 people across the world may have completed suicide. That’s one life lost every 40 seconds - 25 times this amount making a suicide attempt, together with innumerable individuals left bereaved by these actions.
Behind every statistic is an individual human being. Their lives, their hobbies, their values, their talents and their relationships cannot be summarised by a numerical figure. Each completed suicide is an unfinished story; a story which possessed the potential to be elaborated and expanded upon.
Prevention, therefore, is not simply the act of “stopping.” Prevention, with regards to suicide, is the act of “changing,” or “altering” the narrative of someone’s life. It is a continual process which can develop and manifest itself in differing forms.
World Suicide Prevention Day is this coming Monday, 10th September, and is themed around ‘working together to prevent suicide’. Whether you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, grieving the loss of a family member or friend who chose to take their own life, or concerned for someone else’s safety, the repercussions of suicide are far-reaching and sincere. Suicide is thus relevant to all, and everyone has a part to play in preventing it.
As the SU’s Welfare and Campaigns Officer, I am currently working hard to ensure that the topic of suicide – particularly its prevention, intervention and support - is neither neglected nor avoided.
This year, we’re collaborating with PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide UK) to ensure that those struggling with suicidal thoughts feel supported. For the first time, every accommodation pack will contain a small business card which conveys information surrounding the PAPYRUS HOPELINE and the support the charity provides. I encourage everyone to keep this card safe throughout the academic year to either be utilised by yourself in a time of need, or to pass on to others. PAPYRUS links and information will also be included on the Warwick SU wallplanner, again as a preventative reference-point for anyone who may feel vulnerable.
Throughout the year we will also be working closely with PAPYRUS to organise free 90-minute “suicide awareness” sessions to help students become more aware of the prevalence of suicide, as well as considering how we can all contribute to a safer community. A representative from the charity will also be present at the SU Welcome Fair if you have any further questions.
However, no-one can do this alone, and it is the responsibility of us all to play our part - whether it’s as an individual, or on behalf of a Sports Club and Society, I urge you to post and share some of the resources linked below. Let’s swap mourned embraces for warm embraces, and work together to raise awareness, banish the stigma and open the conversation around the topic of suicide.
Lots of love,
RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS
If you would like to support World Suicide Prevention Day:
I’m not a professional – what can I do?
On World Suicide Prevention Day, I encourage you to Take a Minute to observe and notice what is going on with you, your friends, your colleagues, your partner, someone in your Society or Sports Club, and your family. Start a conversation if you notice a difference in their usual behaviour, and find out what help is available for both you and others.
People are often hesitant to intervene, for fear of not knowing what to say. Another concern, which has been inflated by the myth that talking about suicide may cause vulnerable individuals to contemplate the idea or trigger the act, is a fear of addressing the issue. Evidence suggests, however, that this is not the case.
Empathy, a genuine concern and compassion are essential to preventing a tragedy. Simply the offer of support and a willingness to listen are far more likely to reduce feelings of distress, as opposed to heighten them. We need to actively look out for individuals around us who are not coping with the pressures of daily life.
Warning signs of suicide include, but are not exclusive to:
- Uncontrolled anger
- Seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
- Feeling trapped, or that there’s no way out
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family & society
- The inability to sleep, or sleeping all the time
- Dramatic mood changes.
Reaching out to someone in your community could change the course of their life. You don’t have to be a clinician, GP or nurse to check in with a person you are concerned about.
If you need help supporting someone who feels suicidal, visit: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helping-someone-else/supporting-someone-who-feels-suicidal/about-suicidal-feelings/
If you believe someone to be in immediate danger, please contact either the emergency services or Campus Security.
Take 5 to Save Lives:
This campaign encourages everyone to take 5 minutes out of their day and complete five action items:
1. Learn the warning signs
2. Do your part
3. Practise self-care
4. Reach out
5. Spread the word
Take the Pledge
We all have a role to play in suicide prevention. Whether you’re an individual, or pledging on behalf of a society and sports club, sign the STOP Suicide Pledge to show your commitment to discussing suicide more openly, and to actively help those in distress.
Campaign Online for the Prevention of Suicide:
The IASP (International Association for Suicide Prevention) have prepared World Suicide Day banners/cover photos in an array of languages. Individuals, influencers, organisations and companies are free to use these banners on their web sites to promote World Suicide Prevention Day. Click here for more info.
For more information on activities and campaigns you can get involved with on World Suicide Prevention Day, visit: https://iasp.info/wspd2018/
If you currently believe you possess suicidal feelings:
If you can no longer see why you should go on living, your feelings can seem unbearable. You may hate yourself and believe that you are useless, or not wanted or needed by anyone. You may feel rage, shame or guilt.
Find out more about what suicidal feelings are here, including information on:
Every student at the University of Warwick should feel like they can talk to someone about any issues they may face, however small or large. Listed below are a few useful numbers/links for anyone who might need support:
Tel: 116 123
The Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way, about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.
Students’ Union Advice Centre
Tel: 024 765 72824
Our team are extremely experienced and will help you resolve your problem or find the right person to talk to. The service is for all students of Warwick University and is free, confidential, impartial and non-judgmental. They are also independent of the University.
Warwick Wellbeing Support Services
Wellbeing Support Services provide a range of support to help you develop the personal resources and skills you need to navigate the challenges and opportunities of student life.
PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide)
HOPELINE UK: 0800 068 41 41
Papyrus exists to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by shattering the stigma around suicide and equipping young people and their communities with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour. Their HOPELINE is a specialist telephone service staffed by trained professionals who give non-judgemental support, practical advice and information.
Warwick SU Welfare Officer
Tel: 024 765 72777
I am Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training qualified. My door is always open on the ground floor of SUHQ, and I’m happy to help with any issues or just to have a friendly chat.