It is alarming to know that the suicide rates around the world have gone up recently. What’s particularly disturbing is that the people who take their own lives and those who attempt to do so are getting younger. People have different views about suicide. Others think that suicide is the most extreme form of escapism and cowardice. Even more think that suicide is the end result of a poor coping mechanism to stressful situations. Whatever the views of different people about suicide and whatever are the reasons behind suicide ideation, it is still not right to end your own life.

How do we stop suicidal mindset? The best way to stop a suicidal mindset is to know the telltale signs and possible factors for suicidal ideation. Depression is one of the things to look out for. Although almost all of us may have experienced depression at one point in our lives, there are people who may not be mentally and emotionally equipped to move on and get over depression. The feeling that nobody loves you and nobody seems to care about your predicament can push you to do self destructive activities such as social isolation, alcohol and drug abuse, unhealthy diet (binge eating or self-starvation) and ultimately, suicide. When someone we know who is usually outgoing and cheerful becomes overly sad and isolated, we need to reach out to them and try to help them in any way we can. Extra care should be taken in our approach to help though, as some people may view it as an intrusion of their personal lives. Although depression is a feeling and coping mechanism that is normal when we are faced with stressful situations and significant turns of events (divorce, death in the family, loss of job etc.), it becomes problematic when we do not let it pass and instead let it affect our daily functions and our life. This is where our support groups (our family and trusted friends) are crucial in helping us get over depression and possible suicidal ideation. For someone you think is contemplating suicide, you can become part of his/her support group by offering comfort, relief and valuable advice for him/her to turn away from their suicidal mindset.

Sudden and drastic changes in mood and temperament in someone we know should not be ignored, especially if this happens consistently or repeatedly. Again, care must be taken in how we approach people with these manifestations. We should also be careful in probing into the possible causes of their problems so as not to appear nosy and intrusive. We should ask slowly, and gently transition into more personal and probing questions, until we are able to determine the possible cause of these sudden emotional mood changes.

Sometimes, people with a suicidal mindset have a bleak and negative outlook in life. They may at times send ‘feelers’ of their intention to take their own lives. They may suddenly make morbid requests like asking you to take care of their favorite pet or cherished belongings if they would be ‘gone’ or will ‘go away’. We need to be quick in identifying these feelers to prevent people we know, who may be contemplating suicide, to go through with it.

All of us may have different ways of dealing with problems and stressful events in life. We need to be open-minded and considerate of our different ways of dealing and coping with these problems and stressors. Some may not be fortunate to be able to deal with problems and stress as effectively as we do, and thus we should be there to help out those persons. A person we befriend and help out with their troubles can mean one more life we save from suicide and a suicidal mindset.

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