Vital ‘Know the Signs of Suicide’ initiative a Pieta focus this month

Athlone and Westmeath footballer, Ray Connellan, is pictured at the launch of Pieta’s ‘Know The Signs of Suicide’ campaign which takes place through the month of September. Picture Andres Poveda.

Athlone and Westmeath footballer, Ray Connellan, is pictured at the launch of Pieta’s ‘Know The Signs of Suicide’ campaign which takes place through the month of September. Picture Andres Poveda.

Pieta, the suicide prevention charity, is focussing a spotlight on the ‘Know the Signs of Suicide’ initiative during the month of September.

‘Know the Signs of Suicide’ is a public awareness resource created to help people identify some signs that may be recognisable if someone they know is considering taking their own life. Since the beginning the year, the Pieta crisis helpline has received over 27,000 calls relating to suicide, self-harm, and suicide bereavement.

In Ireland, the overall suicide rate for males is three times higher than for females. When a loved-one or friend is behaving in a worrying way, it is difficult to know how to help them. Pieta is urging everyone to ‘Know the Signs of Suicide’ when someone is considering taking their own life, so that you can help a loved one feeling blocked in by their own consuming thoughts and look towards hope.

Knowing some of the signs to listen and watch out for is the first step in helping someone:

Signs to listen for:

Talking or writing about hurting themselves, dying or saying that they want to die

Talking about ways to die or having a suicide plan

Saying they are ‘trapped’ or have no options in their life

Saying they have no purpose in their life, that they feel hopeless

Saying they feel like a burden to those around them.

Signs to look out for:

Giving items away or saying goodbye to people

Becoming more inward looking and withdrawing from family and friends

Changes in their sleep patterns – too much or too little sleep

Extreme emotions or dramatic changes in mood

Increasing their use of drugs or alcohol.

When you know the signs, you can follow three simple steps, A.P.R. (Ask – Persuade – Refer ) – and just like CPR, it can save a life.

If someone opens up to you, don’t be afraid to Ask them directly if they are thinking of suicide or wanting to kill themselves. Talking to them openly and honestly is one of the best things you can do. Even just listening is one of the most powerful tools available to us. Once you have asked the question, calmly and gently Persuade them to seek help or to allow you to assist them in getting help. If you cannot persuade them, remember that Pieta’s 24/7 Crisis Helpline is open 24 hours a day. As soon as you can, Refer or guide them to Pieta – if you can, make the call with them or travel with them to the appointment.

Athlone and Westmeath Footballer, Ray Connellan, who is supporting ‘Know the Signs of Suicide’ initiative has spoken openingly with regard to his struggles.

“I’ve been very open about my own struggles and because of this I know how difficult it can be to turn to anyone, your friend’s, family and simply say I’m not ok. We can’t tell what’s going on inside anyone else’s head, but we can recognise a change in behaviour and the language they use to talk about themselves and life. I think for this reason it’s essential to expose people to the signs of suicide,” Ray remarked.

Pieta’s professional counsellors specialise in suicide prevention and tackling self-harm. The charity has centres all over Ireland and Pieta’s Freephone Crisis Helpline is open 24/7. All services are provided free of charge and no referral is needed.

For more information and help visit www.pieta.ie

 

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