Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be extremely difficult for anyone. But if you're unsure whether someone is suicidal, the best way to find out is to ask. You can't make a person suicidal by showing that you care.
It is helpful to developing a set of steps that the person can follow during a suicidal crisis. Identify potential triggers and offer the number of someone to call for help. If a suicide attempt is imminent, remove potentially lethal objects from the vicinity, but, do not leave a suicidal person alone and get professional help.
Suicide prevention tip 1: Speak up if you’re worried
If you spot the warning signs of suicide in someone you care about, you may wonder if it’s a good idea to say anything. What if you’re wrong? What if the person gets angry? In such situations, it's natural to feel uncomfortable or afraid. But anyone who talks about suicide or shows other warning signs needs immediate help—the sooner the better.
Tip 2: Respond quickly in a crisis
If a friend or family member tells you that he or she is thinking about death or suicide, it's important to evaluate the immediate danger the person is in. Those at the highest risk for suicide in the near future have a specific suicide PLAN, the MEANS to carry out the plan, a TIME SET for doing it, and an INTENTION to do it.
Tip 3: Offer help and support
If a friend or family member is suicidal, the best way to help is by offering an empathetic, listening ear. Let your loved one know that he or she is not alone and that you care. Don't take responsibility, however, for making your loved one well. You can offer support, but you can't get better for a suicidal person. He or she has to make a personal commitment to recovery.
Have You Been Having Suicidal Thoughts? If you need it, help is only one call away. Don’t put it off any longer, contact us today, we are always available and we are here to help. If you need prayer or counselling, we are ready and able to assist.
Beware of some warning signals of potential suicide:
• Fascination with the subject of suicide
• Depression and anxiety
• Change in behaviour
Suicide is on the rise among young people of school going age. The pressures that the youth face is often intense. Bullying, academic performance, peer pressure may be felt far more intensely than parents, siblings and friends realise. Many children go to school as though nothing has happened after an unsuccessful suicide attempt the night before. They often have told someone that they want to end their lives, but no one believed them. It is most painful when those around you do not take you seriously enough to believe what you say.
Do not dismiss a cry for help as a ‘phase’ or ‘a bad mood’ or a dramatic outburst. LISTEN to what they are saying. Always take conversations around suicide seriously. Be aware of concerns in the lives of those around you. Quiet people are often overlooked because they do not make a great fuss. They tend to withdraw and say nothing because they feel no one hears them and yet inside they are in inner turmoil. Extroverts are often labelled ‘dramatic’ when they are really crying for help.
If you are concerned, approach and talk to the person and by all means encourage them to visit a clinic and speak to a health care professional as soon as possible but always remember to be discreet as this is a very private matter.
The Sanctuary Team
In this video we talk about a rather serious subject suicide. Lorraine Mitchell who is a clinical social worker who worked at life line shares her professional opinion with Hilary from The Sanctuary.
Suicide is on the rise across the world and we need to be informed and know what to do if we do come across someone who may be considering ending their life. Do not dismiss the comments and signals that you may hear and see, when someone says they are considering suicide, always take them seriously. Don’t assume a person is being “dramatic” when they say they want to die.
The key to suicide prevention is observation. Pay attention. If a person you know begins talking a lot about suicide and watching videos and films on the subject, or seem to obsess about suicide. They may have been very angry, deeply depressed for an extended period, extremely withdrawn or just resigned.
If they have recently experienced a serious challenge or setback, like bullying, the loss of a job or loved one, or a difficult relationship or debilitating illness. If a usually morose person suddenly cheers up or suddenly becomes calm, it can be because they have decided to end their life and know their suffering will soon be over. Suicidal people may start giving away their personal items, write a will or begin to tidy up their affairs.
In October, we are having a Healing Shame Workshop by Sandra Sellmer, facilitated by Jenny McMillan and Miemie Redelinghuys, who both work closely with the Sanctuary Soul Care Centre. The topic, “Shame? Who me?” covers the strongholds and devastating effects of shame in our lives, in a safe and understanding environment. For more details, visit our website.
Many of us, especially Christians, tend to wear masks. We look pretty, capable, efficient and like we have it all together, but inside it is another story. We feel the devastating effects of shame and one step away from breaking down. We are so scared for anyone to find out the truth about us, because they just wouldn’t love us anymore.
They wouldn’t accept us, they wouldn’t understand, and we go through life with a silent scream. It doesn’t have to be that way. The truth is, that everyone has issues in their life. No one has it “all together”, and there are so many people to help you, if only you are willing to drop the mask.
To learn more about lifting masks and the journey towards a healthy self-image please visit our website: www.thesanctuary.org.za
“I also believe that professional therapists (psychologists, social workers and registered counsellors) are anxious when working with clients who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and that not enough training is done at university level around suicide. For that reason, I am passionate about being able to offer a training programme, such as ASIST to all professionals, lay counsellors and all individuals directly involved with people at risk of suicide in South Africa.”
Four years ago Lorraine started Suicide Survivors in Edenvale, with her focus on empowering the public to be suicide alert and to know where to find support. “I’ve been called to help heal the broken-hearted and bring restoration,” claims Lorraine Mitchell. And that is exactly what she is doing today.
Lorraine describes her journey as follows: “I am a 46 year old single parent of a 12-year-old boy, Ryan. I am passionate about people and their emotional and psychological wellbeing. I am driven by my faith and always endeavour to remain firmly grounded in my relationship with the Lord. “I qualified as a Social Worker in 1996 and have been working in the field since then. I first worked for the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society (JCWS) in the Child and Family Unit, initially working in the field and later as Supervisor for the Unit. While working for JCWS, I completed two-years of tutored studies for a Masters in Mental Health. I did not complete the dissertation for this Masters’ degree after the sudden and unexpected death of my mother.
“In 2013, I started my own private practice and registered Suicide Survivors as a business. My primary focus is to have as many people as possible attend the safeTALK trainings and to be speaking openly and directly about suicide and to assist people to be able to identify the warning signs of depression and suicide. I also believe that professional therapists (psychologists, social workers and registered counsellors) are anxious when working with clients who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and that not enough training is done at university level around suicide. For that reason, I am passionate about being able to offer a training programme, such as ASIST to all professionals, lay counsellors and all individuals directly involved with people at risk of suicide in South Africa.
“One of the most defining moments in my life: The death of my mother in May 2001. My mother died in a very traumatic way. My parents were travelling from Jeffrey’s Bay, where they had moved to the year before, to Johannesburg for a visit and to surprise my nephew for his second birthday. At Cookhouse, a kudu jumped over their car and landed on the car killing my mother instantly. My mother was still recovering from a triple heart bypass she had in the November of 2000. We believed that she had been given a new lease on life, but was then killed by a Kudu.
I struggled with the loss of my mother as we were incredibly close. I developed depression, which also manifested with suicidal thoughts and was angry with God for not sparing my mother as well as for the insane manner in which she died. As a family, we also fragmented. Why I chose my profession: When I was about 16 years old, my mother presented with what I now believe to be depression with psychotic episodes. At the time, we did not know what was happening to my mother and we as a family felt helpless and powerless to help her or to know what she needed. I believe that I initially studied psychology and social work to find an explanation to what I experienced with my mother as well as to vicariously assist others deal with what we as a family experienced. I also believe that I had a calling to enter my profession. I would you have loved to have a heart to heart chat to: Carl Rogers, Gregory Bateson, Michael White, Watzlavick and other authors of the fundamental theories that inform my work. I look forward to one day having a heart to heart chat with the Lord.
“I am a therapist, specialising in working with depression, suicidal ideation, addiction, bereavement, trauma, relationship counselling, adolescent and family work. I am a trainer and facilitator offering the safeTALK as well as Parenting, Effective Communication and Basic Counselling and Addiction Workshops. I also work in the employee wellness field and facilitate corporate trainings, focus groups, mentoring and coaching sessions as well as change management processes.
Lorraine offers various training courses, including:
- safeTalk (suicide alertness for everyone)
- Suicide care (specialised training for social workers, psychologists, registered counsellors and lay counsellors)
- Parenting workshop (to provide parents with information and skills to improve their parenting practices and improve family relationships)
- Digital Cocaine (digital / screen / online gaming addiction).
For more information, contact Lorraine Mitchell on 084 560 1003 or visit