The facts on suicide
Suicide is preventable. We can all do something to help a person that is feeling suicidal, whether it be a family member, friend, or stranger. Simply just starting a conversation with someone could save a life.
What could cause someone to feel suicidal? The factors that lead someone to taking their own life are complex. It can’t be put down to simply one cause, and it is likely that a number of these factors contribute to someone feeling suicidal:
- Gender and age. The highest number of suicides are amongst middle aged men in the UK.
- Mental health problems, particularly depression. However, two thirds of men that take their own life have not been in contact with mental health services.1
- Family and relationship problems. The greatest risk is amongst divorced men².
- Drug and alcohol misuse. The risk of suicide is up to eight times bigger when someone is abusing alcohol².
- Unemployment and money problems. Someone that is unemployed is 2-3 times more likely to take their own life than someone in work².
- Societal expectations of men. Men are expected to be ‘masculine’ and aren’t typically encouraged to talk about their feelings. Men can be made to feel ashamed of having mental health issues.
- When someone has lost a loved one to suicide, they are also at higher risk themselves².
Signs someone may be struggling to cope
Sometimes there are no warning signs that someone is suicidal, and a lot of people still feel ashamed talking about these feelings due to the stigma attached to suicide. However, there are some signs to look out for that could indicate someone is struggling
- Extreme changes in mood – for example being very happy after being very depressed
- Isolating themselves from social situations
- Change in sleeping and eating habits
- Low energy
- Neglect of personal appearance
- Reckless or risky behaviour
- Increased drug or alcohol use
- Increasing anger or irritability
- Talking about suicide or wanting to die, even if it seems that they are joking
- Giving away possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family as if they won’t be seeing them again²
Remember to always take care of yourself as well and if you are feeling overwhelmed to talk to someone about it.
If you are worried about someone urgently, you should call 111. They can also drop in to one of the local recovery cafés where they can talk to someone about how they are feeling. The recovery cafés are available to Adult residents (18 +) of Kingston, Richmond, Wandsworth, Sutton and Merton.
Hestia’s Recovery Café 966 Garratt Lane Tooting SW17 0ND 07794 394 920
Sunshine Recovery Café 296a Kingston Road SW20 8LX 07908 436 617
Alternatively, they can contact their GP, or their local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service which provide talking therapies for people experiencing mental health problems.
- Croydon www.slam-iapt.nhs.uk/croydon/welcome-to-croydon-iapt / 020 3228 4040
- Kingston www.icope.nhs.uk/kingston / 0203 317 7850
- Merton www.mertonuplift.nhs.uk/psychological-therapies / 020 3513 5888
- Richmond www.richmondwellbeingservice.nhs.uk / 020 8548 5550
- Sutton www.suttonuplift.co.uk / 0800 032 1411
- Wandsworth www.talkwandsworth.nhs.uk / 0203 513 6264
1 www.samaritans.org/about-samaritans/research-policy/suicide-facts-and-figures/. 2 www.thecalmzone.net/help/worried-about-someone/