Beware of depression, a risk factor for suicide, WHO raises alarm
The World Health Organisation has advised the public to support persons showing signs of depression by encouraging and talking to them to seek help to prevent them from attempting suicide.
WHO says that for individuals with severe depression, it was common to think about suicide and they need support and encouragement from people around them to enable them to heal at that moment.
On its Twitter Handle @WHO on Saturday, the organisation expressed concerned about recent reports on cases of suicide that indicated that someone, somewhere in the world, dies by suicide in every 40 seconds.
The global organisation, therefore, urged the public to offer immediate support to persons around them who had previously tried to take their own lives, persons with depression, an alcohol or drug addict.
WHO said that those at risk for suicide were individuals with severe emotional distress following the loss of a loved one or a relationship break-up.
According to it, others are people suffering from chronic pain or illness, people who have experienced war, violence, trauma, abuse or discrimination and those socially isolated.
The organisation said that people who knew or were living with individuals having these experiences should talk to them about their problems, listen with an open mind and offer support.
“Suicides are preventable and it is okay to talk about suicide; if there is someone around you who is facing these challenges, find an appropriate time and a quiet place to talk to them; let them know you are there to listen.
“Encourage the person to seek help from a professional such as a doctor, mental health professional, counsellor or social worker; you can also offer to accompany them to an appointment.
“If you think the person is in immediate danger, do not leave him or her alone; if the person you are worried about lives with you, ensure that he or she does not have access to means of self-harm in the home such as pesticides, firearms or medication,’’ it warns.
WHO said that individuals who were considering suicide often threatened to kill themselves or said things such as “no one will miss me when I am gone’’.
It said that these individuals also looked for various ways to kill themselves by seeking access to pesticides, firearms, medication or browsed the internet for means of taking their own life.
According to WHO, individuals attempting suicide often show it by saying goodbye to close family members and friends, giving away their valued possessions or writing a will.
The organisation also advised the media to exercise caution when reporting on suicide to protect the sensitivity of the public and prevent others from being affected by the stories.