Last year saw 6,859 recorded suicides in 2018 within the UK and Ireland alone; an 11.8% increase from the previous year. In the UK, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. The highest suicide rate is among men aged between 45 and 49. These are just some of the shocking statistics for this country that everyone should be away of on World Suicide Prevention Day. If you're worried that someone you know is on their way to becoming a statistic, here are some dos and don'ts on how you can help.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

DO direct them towards helplines and local services that may be able to help. We're not all equipped to deal with a suicidal person, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of people who are. If you're concerned about your friend, seek out some contacts, but don't pressure them to call anyone if they don't want to. Asking for help is a major step.

DON'T try and get them medical help without their permission. Unless you are a close family member, you have no right to interfere with their lives in this way. If you are seriously worried about them, there's no harm in suggesting they get help, but they won't thank you for trying to arrange a doctor's appointment for them.

DO keep in contact. If your friend is at rock bottom, the worst thing you can do is let them stew in their problems on their own. You don't have to offer inspirational advice everyday, but checking in with them often with a call or message will encourage them to be around people, and may even cheer them up on a bad day.

DON'T ignore their calls. It's hard when you've got your own issues to have to deal with someone else's, but if you're a true friend you'll make sure you're around to talk to. They are very unlikely to insist on constructive advice so don't worry if you don't have a lot to say, just being there to listen to them vent for a few minutes can be a huge help.

DO arrange to visit them. If they're spending a lot of time alone, try and encourage them to get out and see people. Start by offering to drop by to visit them. Don't be discouraged if they refuse, but don't stop asking either. Eventually, they may find they are ready to face the world.

DON'T show up unannounced. Sometimes the thought of seeing people or having to talk is just too much to bear. We all need time alone, so respect your friend's wishes as this might be their way of taking care of themselves.

DO show sympathy. No matter what, always err on the side of sympathy and never say things like "pull yourself together" or show any kind of frustration with their issues. It's very likely that they are already paranoid that everyone's sick of them without you rolling your eyes and urging them to "snap out of it".

DON'T accuse them of attention-seeking. Even if you think someone is just seeking attention, there is no way you can know for sure. The best thing to do is to give it to them and be there for them to talk to. They may not be suicidal, but they may have other issues that they need to get off their chest.

DO let their family members know about their predicament. It's a family's job to take care of each other, and a family member will usually be better placed than a friend to help if things are getting difficult.

DON'T tell all your mutual friends. Mental health issues can be a very private matter for many people, and you have no right to gossip about it behind the person's back. If you feel like you are not in a position to help but help is very clearly needed, always go to their closest relative first.

DO try and take their minds of their problems. It's a temporary fix, but sometimes the short-lived relief of some sort of distraction is enough to get through the day. Tell jokes, send them funny memes and invite them out on fun day trips just like you would with any other friend.

DON'T force them to talk about what's going on their mind. Even if you think a problem shared is a problem halved, sometimes talking about it can make people feel worse. And it's most likely none of your business either.

And if you suspect your friend is in serious danger...

DO call 999. An ambulance will take them away to hospital immediately with their consent and they will most likely be referred to a crisis team who will be able to help.

DON'T ignore it. Don't assume they won't dare hurt themselves or comfort yourself with the notion that they are probably over-reacting. Suicide is very rarely expected of anybody no matter how depressed they are.

If you are feeling suicidal and need someone to talk to, phone the Samaritans anytime day or night on: 116 123

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