It occurred to me that, as a fifty year old, there is only so far I can go in writing a blog aimed at much younger people. Therefore, I have asked my son, Efan, who is a teenager himself, to write some posts about things that are important to him. I hope you will give him support.
Hello, my name is Efan Headford, and I will be writing posts for this blog weekly from now on. Suicide and depression is a very close subject to me, and I care allot about it. That is why I've written this post on:
How to save a life.
We all go through difficult times in our lives, but sometimes these feelings of sadness and hopelessness persist and become unbearable. I believe that everyone, young or old, should be armed with the knowledge of how to save a life.
Step 1: Recognise the warning sings
Depression is one of the most common forms of mental health, largely considered the common cold of mental health. But it is one of the highest causes of suicide.
The most obvious signs are depressed moods. Withdrawing from friends and family, becoming less social, more quiet and giving up on interests they once had. Like if someone really enjoys football, they come to practice every time and have a huge passion for the sport, but then one day, they stop. They stop coming and that once great passion just fades.
Another warning is when they begin to withdraw from plans they made with you or anyone else. Suddenly calling up at the last minute saying they won't be able to make it.
Another sign to look for if you're a parent, is if they begin to sleep too much or too little. This is one of the biggest signs of depression.
Also, a lack of energy and drive is another clear sign. Irritability as well as a sudden gain or loss in weight and or appetite is another very visible and important sign.
Step 1.5: Self harm
I could have easily interpreted this subject into the above step, but I believe that this is such an important problem that it deserves an entire step of it's own.
Self harm is the act of intentionally harming oneself. e.g cutting, burning, scratching, ripping out hair, punching, ramming against solid objects.
Any unexplained cuts. scratches or bruises are a clear sign of self harm. Even the smallest scratches, bruises or cuts are a serious issue.
Remember, ALL SELF HARM IS SERIOUS!!!!! Even if it's as small as a little scratch. It can easily progress into something much more serious. If you notice ANY unexplained injuries, take it seriously.
Now, this is not to say that everyone who self harms are suicidal, or (Even though uncommon) depressed at all. Sometimes it's just a form of taking control back over your life. But still, it must be taken seriously.
The reason this step is not Step 2, is because, as stated above, not all self harm is related to suicide. But still, and I cannot stress this enough. it MUST be taken seriously, every time.
Step 2: Recognise the signs of suicidal thoughts.
Suicide as a very serious issue. It is NOT to be taken lightly. It IS serious, but how do you recognise it before it's to late?
Look out for behaviour such as:
Always talking about death
Taking potentially life threatening risks (e.g carelessly walking out to the middle of the road, not bothering to check before crossing)
Making comments of being hopeless or helpless
Putting affairs in order, tying up lose ends etc.
Saying things like, "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
Giving away personal or beloved possessions.
And one of the biggest signs: Talking about killing ones self.
Step 3: What to do?
If you notice ANY of the behaviours or warning signs listed above, take action immediately! Sit them down, talk to them, tell them how much you love them, tell them how much they're worth, help them open up to what they're feeling.
If they're reluctant, give them time, but keep a very close eye on them and make sure they don't act on any of the feelings they have.
And as soon as possible, take them to see their doctor, they may be refereed to a psychiatrist, counsellor or therapist. Make sure to lay everything out for the doctor, tell them everything.
Step 4: Now what?
Make sure you hide any/all knives, medications or anything that could potentially be used for them to kill themselves. Keep an eye on them, tell them everyday how much you love them and that they are valued. Find creative outlets for their feelings, art, music etc.
Make sure they're safe.
What if I'm suffering from depression and/or suicidal thoughts?
Seek help, confide in a trusted adult, a parent, a teacher, a friends parent. Confide in a friend, talk to them about how you feel. Seek help from your doctor, a school nurse, a school therapist etc.
But, above all, remember:
You ARE valued. You ARE loved. Always see the light, NEVER lose hope. It WILL get better. Just hold on. Don't keep it all in. Seek help. You ARE worth it.
Remember that. Suicide is never the answer, no matter how hopeless it seems. Always keep holding on.
http://www.horsesmouth.co.uk/ To become or request a mentor. You need to look down the page a bit to find the place to request a mentor.
Suicide hotline 1 – 800 – 273 – 8255
Useful information for transgender children and their adults http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx