By: Varvara Dyakonova
TW: The article contains mention of suicide
I study social psychology at my university, and I have stumbled across an interesting phenomenon happening in humans: the availability of heuristics or a system that we use to judge how frequently or probably events are happening. However, sometimes availability heuristics make mistakes, especially when talking about dramatic events. Due to the media coverage of the dramatic events, people overestimate the rate of homicide, while the rate of suicide to homicide is 3:2. Suicide is a major cause of death among all age groups worldwide.
Almost 700,000 people commit suicide yearly, and suicide is the 4th leading cause of death in people 15-19 years old. There are several risk factors for suicide such as a history of suicide attempts, mental disorders, substance use disorder, family history, unhealthy social relationships, exposure to suicidal behaviour from others. Moreover, stressful life events can contribute to the risk. It is difficult to realize that someone is at risk, however, it is important to know that there are some warning signs that a person is at risk, such as talking about feeling hopeless, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, wanting to die; withdrawing from family and friends; giving away the possessions; organizing possessions and putting everything in order.
It is extremely important to realize that there are several methods for suicide prevention as well as interventions to help people who are at suicidal risk. If you are worried that someone is at risk, speak up about it. You cannot make a person suicidal by asking about it, but it would provide an opportunity for a person to open up about feelings and relieve loneliness. Additionally, you need to be able to respond quickly in a crisis, be ready to call emergency services numbers, remove all dangerous objects, and stay with the person at all times. To continue, you can offer help and support In such cases, help can include professional help, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, or brief intervention strategies.
In Canada, there are multiple centers that provide support and help for suicide prevention. These include the Canada suicide prevention service, which operates 24/7, Kids help Phone, which provides counselling anonymously to people aged 5 to 29; Hope for Wellness Help Line, which is available to all Indigenous people across Canada with immediate crisis intervention.
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“Frequently Asked Questions about Suicide.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicide-faq
“Local Resources & Support.” Crisis Services Canada, 10 Sept. 2021, www.crisisservicescanada.ca/en/looking-for-local-resources-support/ .
“About Us.” CMHA Middlesex, 15 Sept. 2021, www.cmhamiddlesex.ca/about-cmha/