Recently this subject has come and shown it’s ugly head within my circle of friends once again, and I believe that it’s still fairly misunderstood, even with all of the information and better knowledge that (thankfully) the world is beginning to find. The aim of this post is to give a simple Q&A, even if one person finds some help from it, or finds that this post affects them, I’ll take it as an accomplishment and my task complete. Why do people kill themselves? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. People die by suicide for a number of reasons. However, the majority of the people who take their lives (estimated at 90%) were suffering with an underlying mental illness and substance abuse problem at the time of their death. Too often we think that a person is their brain, that’s where their personality or character resides. This is not true. The brain is an organ just like the liver, the kidneys, the gall bladder, etc. When it gets sick too often the appearance of the problem is in the form of a mental illness, as in the case of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia, which can lead to suicide. This isn't always the case, as millions of people live with depression and never attempt or die by suicide, but with awareness, education, and treatment, people can be helped so that suicide does not become an option. Do people attempt suicide to prove something or to get sympathy? This deserves a one word answer. No. A suicide attempt is a cry for help that should never be ignored. It is a warning that something is terribly wrong. Chronic depression can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness, and a suicide attempt is one way some people choose to express these feelings. Most people who attempt or commit suicide don't really want to die - they just want their pain and suffering to end. A suicide attempt is also not done to gain someone's sympathy, as those that attempt to take their life do it for internal reasons-they simply can't stand the pain they feel emotionally and/or physically. It isn’t to try and get someone to feel bad for them, that's the last thing they would want. A suicide attempt must always be taken seriously. Without intervention and proper treatment, a person who has attempted suicide is at greater risk of another attempt and possible suicide. How do alcohol and drugs affect depression? Alcohol is a depressant, so it can and often does make depression worse. Drug use alone or in combination with alcohol use for someone suffering with depression can be lethal. Too often people attempt to alleviate the symptoms of depression by drinking or using drugs which can increase the risk of suicide by impairing judgment and increasing impulsivity. Can a suicidal person mask their depression? Yes, people can and do hide depression, but no one can hide it forever, it may just be a tiny lapse in the facade, we all need to keep our eyes out for everyone around us. Plus, because many people who are depressed can not see their symptoms, we have to be their eyes and ears for them to help SAVE their life. Many people suffering from depression and even contemplating suicide hide their feelings and appear to be happy just prior to their suicide attempt. This often confuses the people around them since for so long they had been suffering and appearing depressed, then all of a sudden seem better. However, most of the time a person who is suicidal will give clues as to how desperate they feel. It is critical that you familiarize yourself with the symptoms of depression and the warning signs of suicide, and not be afraid to ask direct questions about feelings of the person you're concerned about-it could be what save's their life! Will "talking things out" help treat depression? Talking does help treat depression. However, research continues to show that a combination of psychotherapy (talk therapy) and antidepressant medication is the most effective way to treat depression. In some cases, well-supported psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy can considerably alleviate the symptoms of depression. However, a medical doctor should supervise any course of treatment. If a person's mind is made up can they still be stopped? Absolutely! Never give up on someone contemplating suicide. For a person determined to attempt suicide the desire to live is overshadowed by the seeming hopelessness of the disease. The decision to attempt suicide is really a desire to stop suffering. Never give up on someone just because they say they’ve made up their mind. Depression is a crisis and intervening to help the person regain perspective and aggressively fight the disease can help reverse the downward trend toward suicidal thoughts or attempts. What are the warning signs? There are several warning signs when Someone is depressed or contemplating suicide, these may be obvious, or maybe just once in a conversation. Talking or thinking about death. Clinical depression -- deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating -- that gets worse Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights Losing interest in things one used to care about Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will Saying things like "it would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out" Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy Talking about suicide or killing one's self Visiting or calling people to say goodbye. what can I do? Encourage a suicidal or depressed person to seek the help of a mental health professional. Because the person may feel so hopeless that they may not think it's possible to be helped, you'll probably have to be persistent and go with that person. If your loved one appears to be in imminent danger of committing suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Remove any weapons or drugs he or she could use. Accompany him or her to the nearest emergency room or call your emergency services. During treatment, be supportive. Help the person remember to take antidepressants or other prescribed medications and to continue any other therapy that's been prescribed. who can I ring? (Hotlines) These are the hotlines for all countries. If you need help, or are struggling, call them, they can help you. Albania: 127 Argentina: (54-11) 4758-2554 Australia: 13 11 14 Austria: 142 Barbados: (246) 4299999 Belgium: 106 Botswana: 3911270 Brazil: 55 51 211 2888 Canada - Greater Vancouver: 604-872-3311 Canada - Toll free-Howe Sound/Sunshine Coast: 18666613311 Canada - TTY: 1-866-872-0113 Canada - BC-wide: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) China: 0800-810-1117 China (Mobile/IP/extension users): 010-8295-1332 Croatia: (01) 4833-888 Cyprus: 357 77 77 72 67 Denmark: 45 70 201 201 Estonia (1): 126 Estonia (2): 127 Estonia (3): 646 6666 Fiji (1): 679 670565 Fiji (2): 679 674364 Finland: 01019-0071 France: ( 33) (0)9 51 11 61 30 Germany (1): 0800 1110 111 Germany (2): 0800 1110 222 Germany (youth): 0800 1110 333 Ghana: 233 244 846 701 Greece: (0) 30 210 34 17 164 Hungary: (46) 323 888 India: 2549 7777 Ireland (1): 44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 Ireland (2): 44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 Ireland (3): 1850 60 90 90 Ireland (4): 1850 60 90 91 Israel: 1201 Italy: 199 284 284 Japan (1): 03 5774 0992 Japan (2): 03 3498 0231 Kenya: 254 20 3000378/2051323 Liberia: 06534308 Lithuania: 8-800 2 8888 Malaysia (1): (063) 92850039 Malaysia (2): (063) 92850279 Malaysia (3): (063) 92850049 Malta: 179 Mauritius: (230) 800 93 93 Namibia: (09264) 61-232-221 Netherlands: 0900-0767 New Zealand (1): (09) 522 2999 New Zealand (2): 0800 111 777 Norway: 47 815 33 300 Papua New Guinea: 675 326 0011 Philippines: 02 -896 - 9191 Poland (1): 48 527 00 00 Poland (2): 48 89 92 88 Portugal: (808) 200 204 Samoa: 32000 Serbia: 32000 Singapore: 1800- 221 4444 South Africa: 0861 322 322 Sweden (1): 020 22 00 60 Sweden (2): 020 22 00 70 Switzerland: 143 Thailand: (02) 713-6793 Ukraine: 058 United Kingdom (1): 08457 909090 United Kingdom (2): 44 1603 611311 United Kingdom (3): 44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 United Kingdom (4): 1850 60 90 90 United Kingdom (5): 1850 60 90 91 United States of America: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Zimbabwe (1): (263) 09 65000 Zimbabwe (2): 0800 9102 One final thing to say, I am here, and there are other people on pimd who you can talk to, just follow me, I will do whatever I can for you. Although it’s never a technique to be relied Upon over professional advice, the grounding technique (pictures below) is a brilliant way to relax and calm yourself allowing you to focus on yourself and your body.