Sui­cide: when the dark­ness sets in

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Viewpoints -

(Please note: World Men­tal Health Day was Oct. 10)

The dark side of sui­cide is that it is too of­ten treated as a taboo is­sue by peo­ple close to the per­son con­tem­plat­ing it.

So­ci­ety of­ten shuns any­thing they per­ceive to be neg­a­tive. It cries out to be bet­ter un­der­stood and dealt with quickly.

Who am I to take on this? First, I care and I was very close to at­tempts and un­for­tu­nate suc­cesses many times in my po­lice work. I have seen close rel­a­tives and friends strug­gling to cope with its af­ter­math.

When I was elected a Head­quar­ters rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the RCMP in Saskatchew­an, I was sub­jected to up close and in­tense train­ing re­gard­ing sui­cide and many other se­ri­ous health-re­lated that could lead to it as part of my man­date.

My train­ing right­fully only al­lowed me to iden­tify prob­lems, then re­fer “will­ing” per­sons who were need­ing pro­fes­sional help.

Af­ter I re­tired, I took more train­ing and do­nated more than 500 hours of my time to the Cri­sis Help Line. Again, only to be a stop-gap but to help as best I could im­me­di­ately, then re­fer the “will­ing” for pro­fes­sional as­sis­tance. I men­tion will­ing as only the will­ing can be helped. Thus, the fo­cus must be on ways to make peo­ple will­ing and there are many! We must show that we care enough to make them will­ing to seek help.

Sui­cide is de­fined as in­ten­tion­ally act­ing to end one’s life. We must first fo­cus on the warn­ing signs for sui­cide which may be planned or im­pul­sive:

1. Talk­ing about or want­ing to die or kill one­self.

2. Look­ing for a way to kill one­self. 3. Talk­ing about feel­ing hope­less or hav­ing no rea­son to live.

4. Talk­ing about be­ing a bur­den to oth­ers.

5. In­creas­ing the use of al­co­hol or drugs.

De­pres­sion of­ten plays a large part in con­tem­plated sui­cide. Since about one in five of us are some­what de­pressed on any given day, there is a lot of po­ten­tial for the se­ri­ously, long de­pressed to need as­sis­tance. De­creased sero­tonin ac­tiv­ity in the brain can be a sign. Feel­ing hope­less, help­less and iso­lated can be trig­gered from se­ri­ous losses like job se­cu­rity, death, or se­ri­ous in­juries or health is­sues of peo­ple close to you.

Peo­ple who have been bul­lied, phys­i­cally abused or sex­u­ally as­saulted and the young and very old are more sus­cep­ti­ble. They may of­ten only want to end the men­tal or phys­i­cal pain, but may not want to die.

We must act quickly to re­duce or elim­i­nate that pain so they can imag­ine that there is hope for a bet­ter life. More hugs and un­der­stand­ing can only be good! They must un­der­stand that the best an­ti­dote for re­sent­ment is grat­i­tude. Also, that some come to the foun­tain of knowl­edge to drink and some come to gar­gle and some­times we just stub our toe on the foun­tain as we stum­ble by. Fail­ure is not a mea­sure of your worth. it is a chance for a new start. To avoid dis­ap­point­ment aim for progress, not per­fec­tion. You can chose your way, but you can’t chose the re­sult.

To quote Agatha Christie, the world’s best selling au­thor; “I have some­times been wildly, dis­par­ity, acutely mis­er­able …. but through it all I still know quite cer­tainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”

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