Hear from our Health & Safety Manager, Dr Ruth Hartley on how to support those who you feel may need help.
Today, 10 September 2019, is World Suicide Prevention Day. The International Association for Suicide Prevention indicates that globally, suicide is among the top 20 causes of death, that equates to 800,000 preventable deaths a year.
Suicide is a key focus area for the construction industry because people working within it are more likely to take their own life. To prevent these tragic deaths, we need to break the stigma associated with poor mental health. This is something nmcn takes very seriously and we have produced numerous materials this year for our people.
People who are thinking of taking their own life may have told someone that they are suicidal. They may have actually said that they want to die or might talk about not wanting to carry on or that life isn’t worth living, or they may have kept these thoughts and feelings to themselves. If you get an inkling that something isn’t right, it’s important to go with your intuition, ask “the question”, and get help.
There are some myths about suicide. Asking someone if they are suicidal does not put the idea into their head and make them more likely to commit suicide. I started asking people “the question” when I was volunteering for a mental health charity and over the last 20 years I have asked many people “the question”. If I think you are going through a rough time, I’ll ask you “the question” too. What’s the question? The question is “Are you feeling suicidal?”. There are other versions too, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” or “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?”. It doesn’t matter which version you use – the important thing is just to ask it.
This looks brutal and may make you feel uncomfortable, but positively evidence shows that asking someone if they are suicidal can protect them. Why? Because they feel listened to, less trapped and know that someone cares.
Honestly, I never had an angry response from anyone I have asked “the question” to. Some people laugh because I’ve misread them, most people say no but are relieved that someone has spotted that they need support, and occasionally someone says yes.
So, what do you do if you are faced with someone who needs help? You are not a therapist, I’m not either, so it’s important to seek help.
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