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Sal Lalji from the Samaritans: Sometimes it's good, but difficult, to talk

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 14, 2014

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There is no simple explanation for why someone chooses to die by suicide and it is rarely due to one particular factor. Mental health problems are often a risk factor, as well as feelings of desperation and helplessness.

We know that when a person is in crisis and struggling to cope, they feel trapped in their situation with no way out, and that the future holds nothing good for them. They may not be able to see beyond their situation and truly believe that suicide is the only option for them. The recent death of Robin Williams, reportedly by suicide, is very sad and our thoughts are with his friends and family at this difficult time.

Each suicide is a tragedy. Sometimes people get to a point where they feel they can’t cope, where it all gets too much to handle. People can feel worthless, trapped in their situation with no way out, and believe that the future holds nothing good for them. It’s worse if people feel they are alone and they can’t talk to anyone about what’s weighing on them.

Sometimes it’s hard to talk to family or friends. People don’t want to burden those close to them, or they can feel ashamed or struggle to ask for help.

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If a person you know is in feeling vulnerable and possibly in crisis, talking to Samaritans may help them to feel calmer and get through that moment. Talking to someone who really listens can help a vulnerable person feel positive about the future.

People talk to the Samaritans about job stress, money troubles, family struggles, relationship issues, loneliness, isolation, trying to measure up, worthlessness or feeling suicidal.

It doesn’t matter what kind of problem a person has, what matters to us is how their life is making them feel. Of course many people who call us are not suicidal, we still want them to contact us if they’re struggling to cope.

Sometimes people we know in our lives want to talk but we just don’t realise. If you’re worried about someone or think they may be feeling vulnerable, try to get them to talk to you. Often people who are feeling vulnerable want to talk, but wait until someone asks how they are. It might help to ask gentle questions, and listen with care – show that you understand and check they know where to get help.

If you are worried about someone some of the signs to look out for in others are:

Being irritable or nervous.

A change in routine, such as sleeping or eating less than normal.

Drinking, smoking or using drugs more than usual.

Becoming withdrawn or losing touch with friends and family.

Losing interest in their appearance. For example dressing badly, no longer wearing make-up, not washing regularly.

Making statements, such as ‘You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through’ or ‘It’s like the whole world is against me’. People sometimes say these things in the hope you will ask what they mean, so that they can talk about it.

Putting themselves down in a serious or jokey way, for example ‘Oh, no one loves me‘, or ‘I’m a waste of space’ “

Samaritans is there for anybody who needs someone to listen to them. We’re available round the clock every single day of the year. If you want to talk, call Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, email jo@samaritans.org or find the details for the local branch at www.samaritans.org

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