All about the mind

Let’s talk about suicide

Suicide. We don’t like to talk about it much, do we? For some people, it’s akin to using a swear word. And yet, about 7 people die of suicide each day in Australia. It is also the 10th leading cause of death in men. About 16.8 per 100,000 men die of suicide while 9.9 per 100,000 women die this way. The rate is 2.5 times higher in Aboriginal men and 3.4 times higher in Aboriginal women. As of 2012, twice as many people died of suicide than of road related transport deaths.

Which brings me back to, why aren’t we talking about suicide?

As for suicide attempts, there are almost 200 attempts made each day. 200. Two hundred. About 250 people make a plan each day. And 1000 think about it.

I’m sure dear readers, some of you have thought about it at some point too. I know I have.

I think what scares people about talking about suicide is the lack of knowledge around what to do. There is also the misconception that talking about suicide or asking someone if they are suicidal might just put thoughts into their head. There is no research to support this. The research only shows that if the media covers suicide inappropriately by glamourising it or sensationalising it rather than just reporting it in a matter-of-fact manner, it increases the risk in suicidal behaviour.

If you notice someone has had low mood for a while and that they seem quite withdrawn, hopeless and helpless, it’s a good idea to ask them directly if they have thought about suicide or killing themselves. It’s also helpful to check if their thoughts are vague {e.g. I wish I was dead} or if they have a specific plan.They are more likely to open up and you can get them some professional help. Of course, in case of emergency, you can take them to your nearest hospital emergency department for professionals to complete a risk assessment. Here are some warning signs to help you recognise suicide.

It’s important to validate the feelings of someone who is depressed and suicidal. Remember, it’s not a cowardly act. It’s because they feel like they have no other choice and that this is the only way to end the pain.

Apart from getting them professional help, involve them in life itself. Hang out with them, get them their favourite books or TV shows, hug them, love them and be there for them. For someone who is depressed and suicidal, while it might seem a chore, it still shows them there are people who care.

While it’s great for all of us to be part of the suicide conversation, my worry is that there is just not enough in terms of resources to help with the same. We need more funding, more services, more mental health staff. Yet, unfortunately, there is a lot left to be desired.

Hopefully though, by asking someone ‘R U Ok?’ and talking openly about suicide, we could help prevent it.

So I ask you: R U OK?

***Linking with Corinne for the September Challenge and Grace for FYBF***

Image Source: Pixabay

Until next time,



You Might Also Like

  • Shailaja
    10 September 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Today, I am okay, Sanch 🙂 I have been okay for the last 13 years but there was a point when I wasn’t. Yes, it is important to reach out, to say that you love someone, that they matter. Every single time. Some small acknowledgment will help incredibly!
    Shailaja recently posted…Reach out today #WorldSuicidePreventionDayMy Profile

  • Lata Sunil
    10 September 2015 at 11:30 pm

    Very informative post. Hope someone is saved because of it.

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    10 September 2015 at 11:34 pm

    We can never talk enough of about this, can we, Sanch? Thank you for you’re post today.
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…15 Inspiring Quotes From The Alchemist #septemberchallengeMy Profile

  • Vinitha
    11 September 2015 at 12:09 am

    I have lost a cousin to suicide 4 years back. People around him knew that he was depressed and he did talk about suicide but it was taken lightly by everyone. We should change that attitude and give our full attention when someone around us talks along those lines.
    Vinitha recently posted…And off he goes..My Profile

  • J.Gi Federizo
    11 September 2015 at 12:29 am

    Yep, I’m okay. Hope it’ll stay that way.
    J.Gi Federizo recently posted…“Asking for Help – Please Share and Help Me Find My Sister” [Reblogged]My Profile

  • Mary Hill
    11 September 2015 at 2:41 am

    This topic is really important. I have thought about suicide and acted on those thoughts in the past. It makes me fearful to think about how despondent life can become. It is why when I feel the dark mood descending again, I don’t ignore it. I think people are suffering in silence. We really need to hear that question: “R U okay.” I didn’t hear it, but I held strong to my faith and love for family to see me through my dark days. I don’t know what would have happened without those two core supports in my life.
    Mary Hill recently posted…Why I WriteMy Profile

  • Shilpa Garg
    11 September 2015 at 3:36 am

    R U OK? is such a small question but can have profound implications on the one who is at a vulnerable phase of life. Reaching out and connecting with such people can make such a big difference and may help lives around us!
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…Myths and Facts about SuicideMy Profile

  • Lydia C. Lee
    11 September 2015 at 6:37 am

    Great post. It’s scary statistics.
    Lydia C. Lee recently posted…The Little Prince – Suburban AdventuresMy Profile

  • Alok Singhal
    11 September 2015 at 7:01 am

    I am OK, but your question has made me feel good 🙂
    I can only imagine how beneficial it could be for someone who is depressed and suicidal. Thanks for an awesome post!

  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    11 September 2015 at 7:06 am

    Great post Sanch. There is such a stigma and lack of understanding around suicide and mental illness. I fount a website called Conversations Matter ( ) That had some great ways to have the conversation as well as reading material and podcasts to prepare you for it. My post yesterday is about a family member’s very recent attempt- scared the heck out of me and I realised I wasn’t all that prepared for such a conversation.
    Amy @ HandbagMafia recently posted…Suicide & The Struggle AgainstMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      12 September 2015 at 10:49 pm

      Thanks for the website Amy…I had read your post too and can imagine how difficult it must be to not know what to say, I guess for me my work has helped me assess the same and have that conversation but not many others get that

  • Vanessa
    11 September 2015 at 8:24 am

    I found it shocking at the start of this year to see written on my medical file at the GP “no suicidal thoughts”. I knew my GP was monitoring my mental health (along with persistent physical health issues) but it’s strange to see it written by a professional. I knew she was assessing me because she was asking the “have you lost interest” questions but still, in writing is a different thing.
    Vanessa recently posted…Why I Don’t Want To Lean InMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      12 September 2015 at 10:48 pm

      Yeah I can see how it can be confronting for most people…for me it’s second nature to ask kids and teens I see if they are suicidal irrespective of their diagnosis. And yes, make a note of it in their file

  • Natalie @ our parallel connection
    11 September 2015 at 11:17 am

    200 has me in shock. This is such an important topic and one I am passionate about. Suicide is the second greatest killer in teenagers, behind car accident deaths and this scares me with 4 kids(2 being teens already) . Thanks for your beautiful post
    Natalie @ our parallel connection recently posted…R U OK?My Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      12 September 2015 at 10:47 pm

      I know right…I was surprised too. It’s even more worrying with teens…I guess because is part of work I don’t hesitate to ask teens if they are suicidal but I do know how hard it is for parents to know that their teens want to die. As long as you have the conversation, I’m sure they will tell you if they ever feel like that. We all have thoughts at some point but having people who care helps stop it from going further

  • Bec Senyard
    11 September 2015 at 1:49 pm

    I had no idea the statistics were quite high. I think initiating the conversation is a great start and shows the person that you care about them. This a great post to read and share with others about the taboo regarding talking about suicide.
    Bec Senyard recently posted…My Dream She Shed EssentialsMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      12 September 2015 at 10:41 pm

      It’s scary how high the stats are. Of course, most of us don’t hear about it because it’s not reported as such. By yeah, hopefully we can all have the conversation with loved ones

  • Kyles
    11 September 2015 at 1:59 pm

    This is such a great post because it goes beyond asking the question to include practical ideas for when someone is not ok. Thank you for sharing.
    Kyles recently posted…Lessons from 4 mums in a waiting roomMy Profile

  • Deborah
    11 September 2015 at 3:47 pm

    A very important discussion we need to have with those around us. I suspect it’s even scarier having it with someone we think is more at risk (when it’s even more important!).
    Deborah recently posted…September 11 and the sounds of silenceMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      12 September 2015 at 10:19 pm

      I agree Deb…I think given my work, I don’t shy away from asking people if they are suicidal and I hope I would do the same for someone in personal life too

  • Sid
    11 September 2015 at 3:55 pm

    It’s a little question but can make the world of difference for someone, isnt it?
    Well here’s to hoping more of us start asking both ourselves and others, ‘Are you ok?’ 🙂
    Great post, Sanch
    Sid recently posted…Of experience and being worldly-wiseMy Profile

  • Nabanita
    11 September 2015 at 6:32 pm

    I’m OK Sanch… And I hope you are too…You make some valid points here…

    If more help, more funds and more services are needed in Australia, imagine what is the condition in India…Add to that the absolute lack of knowledge about seeking professional help and the taboo associated with that..I hope talking and writing about it changes things, I really hope!
    Nabanita recently posted…Just Another Birthday Story..My Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      11 September 2015 at 11:01 pm

      Naba, I agree that India still has far to go. I remember a boy in our building committed suicide after failing an engineering exam. I was 14 then. I keep wondering whether things have changed as I haven’t lived there for over a decade…but I guess not.

  • Neets
    11 September 2015 at 9:14 pm

    I lost a partner to suicide when I was 24. It complete rocked my world and still does. My sister also tried to take her life a few years ago. The statistics are so high, too high. One of the my son’s kinder dad’s lost his life to suicide last week leaving 3 beautiful kids and a wife behind. We definitely need to talk about it more. Thanks for raising awareness,
    Neets recently posted…Caring For Our Greats – Time To Check In?My Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      11 September 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Oh Neets, I’m so sorry! That would have been so very hard…it never gets easier. I guess when people worry about how hard it is to talk to someone and ask if they are suicidal, they should think of the alternative — how much harder it’s going to be losing them to suicide. Much love x

  • The month that was September 2015 - Living my Imperfect Life
    1 October 2015 at 9:28 pm

    […] I also wrote about talking about suicide given that it was Suicide Prevention Day. I wrote a poem about failure: an incident I experienced […]