Thursday 1 October, 2020

Suicide Prevention Day: Warning signs

It is difficult to know if a closed loved one is thinking of suicide. Sometimes there aren't any signs, especially if the individual has never had a history of depression or suicidal attempts. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic feelings of anxiety and isolation have spiralled out of control according to some therapists and counsellors. Although signs may vary from person to person, counsellor, and president of Supreme Counselling, Shawn Clarke says that there are some clear warning signs that families and friends should pay attention to. 

  • Social withdrawal or isolation

If you have a person who was very social and very outgoing and then for some reason they are a shut-in and they have isolated themselves from their friends and family members that can be a sign of suicidal ideation. 

  • Talking about being a burden

Talks of "I know you don't want me to be around ... I should have never been born ". You have some adults that might be living at home or gone out on their own and then something happened and life took a negative turn you find when they get into that depressed state they can use similar comments. 

  • Feeling hopeless

Coming out of COVID-19 you have a lot of persons who are contemplating suicide and with suicide ideations. For example, you are accustomed to a standard of living and then all of a sudden, through no fault of your own you are now tossed in a position where you cannot afford the necessities of life . . . you have to struggle . . . all of these things could have a person who would have considered as having a pretty strong mental health before, you find them now being a bit shaky and contemplating if persons would be better off with them gone. 

  • Reckless behaviour

In terms of doing things that you know can endanger your life without consideration for yourself or others. Individuals may also do things that are dangerous and out of character. 

  • Change to “calm” demeanour

Suddenly becoming calm after a period of depression or moodiness can be a sign that the person has made the decision to end his or her life.

  • Preoccupation with death or talking about suicide

Clarke said: "As psychologists, we do not take talks of suicide as idle talk. We do not take it as the person just seeking attention because the main time you ignore this person may be the time when the person actually tries to commit suicide. A person who is constantly talking about death or saying, 'I want to kill myself or what is the best way to kill myself or what can I do to kill myself', those are things psychologists of persons in the profession take very seriously."

If someone you know is threatening suicide or exhibiting any of the signs, you can contact Supreme Counselling for Personal Development at 538-9769, 538-9770, 538-9771 or 836-5601.

Barbados does not have a dedicated government suicide hotline like some other territories. However, there are other agencies on island who provide counselling as well. Supreme Counselling is just one.

September 10 is globally recognised as World Suicide Prevention Day. 

Loop extends condolences to all who may be coping with the loss of a loved one. 

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