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7 suicide deaths in Clondalkin in 2005 Suicide prevention

- Buzz says 'Let's stop suicides' and shows how Signs of suicidal behaviour • Increased alcohol or drug consumption. • Disinterest in possessions - giving away prized belongings. • Withdrawing from friends and social involvement. • Sleeping pattern changes - may have difficulties in getting off to sleep; have interrupted sleep; early morning awakening; feeling tired after sleep; sleeping too much. • Self-mutilation behaviour, eg cutting/gouging. • Sudden and striking personality changes and mood-changes. • Risk-taking and careless behaviour. • Sudden happiness after a prolonged period of depression. • Apathy. May stay indoors, stare at the tv. Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities. • Repetitive medical conditions - feeling nauseous, frequent headaches, injuries. • Death or suicide themes dominate written, artistic, musical or creative work. • Unrealistic expectations of self. • Excessive promiscuousness, or loss of interest in sex. • Overly dependent, clinging behaviour. • Changes in eating patterns - not eating, over-eating, changes in weight. • Verbal expression of suicidal intent or depression. Direct statements, for example, "I wish I was dead!", "I'm going to end it all." • Indirect statements such as, "No-one cares if I'm dead or alive", "Does it hurt to die?" The ‘Buzz’ magazine is published by the North Clondalkin CDP. To contact the ‘Buzz’, write to: Christy Melia House, 24 Neilstown Park, Dublin. Tel. 01-457-5616. E-mail: cmelia@indigo.ie changing ireland

THE ‘North Clondalkin Buzz’ magazine highlighted deaths in the community from suicide in its September edition. ‘7 young people from North Clondalkin died through suicide in 2005’ stated the front page headline with the number ‘7’ standing large and alone at the top. "Let's stop suicides" called the magazine, urging people to "talk more to family, friends, doctors and others." North Clondalkin now has a 'Community Action on Suicide' group that people can contact (through Rowlagh Parish Church). The Buzz listed examples of suicidal

behaviour and pointers to help out in a suicide crisis. We reprint the tips here. The information comes from Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand. SPINZ is a nongovernmental organisation. For, more information, check out: www.spinz.org.nz

BEHAVIOUR There are five aspects of suicidal behaviour: 1) suicidal thoughts. A person doesn't become actively suicidal suddenly - the process is an accelerating one. A person begins by thinking, "It would be better if I wasn't around." Never ignore what may be a message of a suicidal thought. The person needs to be listened to and taken seriously. 2) suicidal threats. This is anything that a person says or does that indicates intent to self-harm. Suicidal threats are sometimes not recognised and can be overlooked. All threats should be taken seriously. 3) suicidal gestures. These are generally regarded as extreme forms of

communication calling attention to the person's plight. They can involve physical injury to oneself or others, or reckless behaviour like overdosing, alcohol abuse, dangerous driving. All are indicators of emotional distress and a cry for help. Not all such gestures, however, can be interpreted as suicidal. 4) attempted suicides. Attempted suicide is a serious and potentially lethal event. It can leave the person emotionally and/or physically devastated, possibly for the rest of their life. 5) suicidal death.

Helping in a suicidal crisis MOST people who have died by suicide have done so when they have been alone. The risk of suicide is greatly increased if the person has been drinking, is alone, and has ready access to the means. In this state, the person may act impulsively. Here are things to do in a suicidal crisis: • Assess if the person is at risk of suicide. • If the situation is life-threatening or dangerous, call 999 for emergency services or take the person to a hospital emergency department. • If help has been called, stay with the person until help arrives. • If emergency services are not needed, encourage or assist the person to get appropriate professional help. • Encourage the person to talk - listen without judgement. Be polite and respectful. • If the person is consuming alcohol or drugs, try to prevent them from taking any more. • Try to ensure the person does not have easy access to some means to take their life. • Give reassurance about the short-term nature of feeling suicidal.

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