WHAT IS SUICIDE?
Suicide is the desire to die intentionally, when a person attempts or successfully takes their own life. Those who commit suicide do so because of the constant anguish and suffering they are going through. When a person’s life becomes too difficult and unbearable they see suicide as their final escape or solution to end this unstoppable consistency of pain. There are 4 main types of suicide – Egoistic suicide, this occurs when a person commits suicide when they feel as if they don’t belong in a society, they struggle to find motivation to live. These people usually have very weak or no social bonds to their society or groups. – Altruistic suicide, is when a person commits suicide for the benefit of others. It is sometimes viewed as a courageous, honourable act such as self-sacrifice during times of war or a sacrifice for a cult or religion. – Anomic suicide, this is when a person commits suicide during periods of immense stress and frustration. When a person can’t reach goals and they become extremely frustrated feeling life is too much for them to handle and it becomes meaningless. – Fatalistic suicide, this is when people’s lives are kept under tight regulation, extreme rules and high expectations by others. These people feel like they’ve lost their sense of self and independence.
WHY IS SUICIDE AN ISSUE IN SCHOOLS
Teenagers who are suicidal tend to show many warning signs such as sudden change in behaviour, depression, lack of interaction with others and the use of drugs or alcohol. This new behaviour shows a student’s view towards their own life in general and they no longer have the ability to concentrate in classes. This shows a student is not interested in their academic future, students with suicidal tendencies tend to have a negative influence on the thoughts and mind sets of other students which in turn causes a negative impact on the studies of others.
WARNING SIGNS AND REASONS FOR SUICIDE
These signs will include; withdrawal from friends and family members thus making one’s self distant and the self-belief of being obsolete. Having trouble in romantic relationships, perhaps feeling unworthy and crushed by the loss of love. Persons may find difficulty getting along with others and fitting into old or new groups. A major sign in school would be the changes of grades (poor academic achievement). A sudden rebellious streak, unusual gift-giving or giving away of prized possessions. Odd writings or drawings of death, showing distasteful imagery. A dramatic personality change as well as changes in appearance (for the worse). The use or overuse of drugs and alcohol or other substances. People may talk about suicide, even in a joking way could be a sign in the disguise of humour. The one key sign will be having a history of previous suicide attempts in the past or present. Reasons for suicide include psychological disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. Being abused and victimised at home or at school. One has feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness which is often accompanied by depression. A family history of depression, suicide or abuse. Mental, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.
HOW TO PREVENT FURTHER SUICIDE ATTEMPTS
Prevention is the best way to put an end to suicide, the choices and actions you partake in could possibly save a life. When a person is contemplating suicide or even seconds away from ending their life your first instinct should be to reach out to the person just for that minimal distraction to stop them. You should hear what they have to say, they might unintentionally give you a reason that they need to live for. A suicidal person should never be left unwatched or be around sort of dangerous objects or machinery. Try to create a bond with the person and gain their trust to create a sense of comfort. If you have successfully prevented a person from committing suicide you should constantly be in contact with them. Try getting the person to join a support group or obtain professional help. Always be careful though because a suicidal person isn’t afraid of taking their own life and therefore could be dangerous to others.
Keep the area safe, do not go near the person if they have dangerous objects such as weapons, knives or guns, or is showing extremely violent behaviour. For hanging or near-hanging- There may be a constricting article (rope) around the neck. Marks around the person’s neck where a constriction has been removed. Uneven breathing, impaired consciousness; grey-blue skin (cyanosis) low oxygen levels. Steps to take:
1. Immediately remove any constriction from around the person’s neck, Support the body while you do so if it is still hanging.
2. Do not move the casualty unnecessarily in case of spinal injury.
3. Do not destroy or interfere with any material, such as knotted rope, that police may need as evidence.
4. Lay the casualty on the floor. Open the airway and check breathing.
5. If they are not breathing be prepared to resuscitate.
6. If they are breathing, place them in the recovery position.
7. Call for an ambulance.
For poisoning by swallowing- Check and monitor the person’s airway, breathing, and pulse. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR. Steps to take:
1. Make sure the person has indeed been poisoned. It may be hard to tell, some signs include chemical-smelling breath, burns around the mouth, difficulty breathing, vomiting, unusual odours on the person. If possible, identify the poison.
2. DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.
3. If the person vomits, clear the person’s airway. Wrap a cloth around your fingers before cleaning out the mouth and throat.
4. If the person starts having convulsions, give convulsion first aid.
5. Keep the person comfortable. The person should be rolled onto the left side, and remain there while waiting for medical help.
6. If the poison has spilled on the person’s clothes, remove the clothing and flush the skin with water.
7. Call for medical assistance.
Exsanguination- first aid steps when finding someone with slit wrists:
1. Calling an ambulance immediately.
2. Try to stop the bleeding by:
a. Pressing against the place that is bleeding.
b. If the person is bleeding from an arm or leg, lifting the arm or leg above the level of the person’s heart.
c. Making a tourniquet and wrapping it tightly above where the person is bleeding.
3. Lying the person down, and raising their legs if possible.
4. If the person is coughing or vomiting blood, turning them on their side so they do not choke.
5. Keeping the person warm.
6. Trying to help the person stay calm.
When giving first aid you should always wear gloves, especially any time you touch another person’s blood. The person may have an infection that can be spread through blood, like HIV. Wearing gloves will protect the person giving first aid from getting these infections.
AS A TEACHER HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO THIS ISSUE?
Discussing the topic of suicide should not be prohibited, students should be allowed to talk about the topic. Most students will want to talk about the method of suicide its common for this to interest learners and it’s likely the information will get out via social media. A teacher should gently stop discussion about this when it occurs. If students find this difficult to accept, explain to them that: discussing this very personal and upsetting aspect of a death is disrespectful to the feelings of the family and close friends, discussion is likely to spread inaccuracies that may be harmful to others and relatives and friends will want people to remember the good things about a young person’s life. Teachers must remind students that student support services are available to them, explain that some discussions are better held in a more private environment (counsellor). Teachers must also provide non-judgemental information, a safe and supportive environment to speak out as well as be listened to and heard. If a student turns to you for help, it’s because they trust you. Show you care and give them time and attention. Bereaved people need compassion, recognition and validation of their experiences and let them know professional help is always available.
In conclusion everyone should understand that suicide is never a solution as there is always an alternative solution. Suicide doesn’t solve your problem, it just makes more problems for your loved ones left behind. There is no problem too great that it cannot be solved with time and effort. Instead of looking at the negative aspects of your life, try looking at the positives. You may find something great you didn’t even know you had, so cherish your life and make it better for yourself and others around you.