Be nicer and kinder on World Mental Health Day

By Brenda Mockler

TODAY, Thursday, October 10, is World Mental Health day with this years focus on suicide prevention.

According to the World Health Organisation, every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide – a very scary figure, but one that is preventable if you know how to spot the early signs that someone is struggling.

Here at The Echo we want to help you recognise these signs and behaviours so you can help your loved one, friend, neighbour, work colleague, school friend or anyone you know that you might be able to reach out to and help.

world mental health day

Behaviour to look out for

Self-harm or threats of suicide

Isolation and / or withdrawing from friends and family

Struggling to cope with daily life

Use of alcohol and / or drugs as a coping mechanism

Feelings of worthlessness and / or nothing to live for

Mood of depression / anger

Unusual and / or significant fluctuations in weight

Lacking energy or appearing unusually tired

How you can help

It is critical to remain calm, appear non-judgemental and invite the conversation. Don’t be afraid of asking direct questions: ‘How are you really? Have you been thinking about suicide?’. This will help make it clear that you care about them and that they deserve help.

Listen and understand – give the person time to explain without judgement or minimising how they feel.

Take it seriously – make it clear that you believe them and take any talk of suicide seriously.

Be realistic – nothing is going to change quickly. It will have taken the person a long time to get to this place and it will take time to build the support and resources they will need.

Stay connected – stay connected with the person and encourage them to get in touch with their loved ones or others they are close to.

Get help – think about who else can help, friends, family, work colleagues. If there is an immediate risk to the person, they will need emergency help.

Be aware of your reactions – if you have feelings of anger or fear put them aside while you respond to their needs. Remain as calm and non-judgemental as possible.

Look after yourself – supporting a person who is suicidal can be difficult on your own mental health, you might need support yourself. Talk to friends, your GP, contact a support line and take some time for yourself.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by this article and need support, please contact Pieta House Dublin South in Tallaght call 01 462 4792, for Pieta House Ballyfermot call 01 623 5606 and for Pieta House Lucan call 01 601 0000 or visit the charity’s website at HOPE Suicide Prevention Centre Tallaght Facebook page or call 087 1363082, Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety) and Samaritans 116 12316.

A list of HSE and HSE-funded services can be found at

On this World Mental Health Day, be a bit nicer and kinder to each other and look after your own mental health.

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