Close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year. Furthermore, for each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts. Suicides and suicide attempts have a ripple effect that impacts families, friends, colleagues, communities and societies.
Prevention is something that we can all individually help with. The acronym ‘WAIT’, devised by the UK’s Mental Health Foundation, is a useful guide as to how we could all play a part in providing support to our peers who might be suicidal.
W: Watch for distress signs and behavioural changes.
A: Ask about any contemplation about self-harm in a gentle manner, e.g. ‘Are you having suicidal thoughts?’
I: It will pass; assure the person that with proper support and help, suicidal ideation can decrease.
T: Talk to others, encourage the person to seek help from a GP or mental health professionals.