As the weather starts to warm up and the days become longer, I feel my darker mood of winter lifting. This is, however, one of the busiest times of year for me in terms of seeing clients. It is also the time of year when the suicide rate is at its highest. Some researchers hypothesize this is because people are engaging with each other more as the weather improves, while others argue that during the winter we expect to feel more alone and depressed, but when those feelings of hopelessness fail to pass with the changing of the seasons, people can start to feel desperate.
Sadly, the World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people in the world take their own life each year. When you also consider the devastating effects of suicide on the network of friends and loved ones, it means millions of people suffer, often needlessly.
The suicide rate tends to be highest among young people under 24 and older men, the latter statistic tending to be because men usually use more violent methods to attempt suicide.
If you are worried that someone you know may be suicidal, or you are finding it tough to carry on yourself, here are some signs to look for that might indicate you need to take action:
If you or someone you know is potentially considering suicide, there are ways to intervene to minimize the risk, and these include:
Often when people think about suicide they call it taking their own life, but it is important to remember that those who are left behind also lose an enormous part of their lives as they struggle through the grief. As winter turns to spring, make sure you take care of your own mental health and look out for those around you who may be struggling.
In closing I thought I would share these lines written by Christopher Bergland (The Athlete’s Way, 2007):
“I’ve been there myself. If you are depressed or suicidal do whatever you have to do to stay vital and get yourself back on track. You were born to be alive. Don’t isolate. Reach out. Ask for help. There will be sunbeams in your soul again. Ride out the storm—but don’t do it alone. People will take care of you. Let them. And make a vow, when you’re back on top, to give something back.”
If you find feeling overwhelmed or out of control, counselling can help you to move forward. I offer a free 20-minute consultation so we can explore how I might be able to help you.
This article was also published on English Informer In France