Suicide prevention awareness during a pandemic with petitions and help – YUYU EU

Suicide prevention awareness during a pandemic with petitions and helplines

The following post was written by @lovelightlizzey for Suicide Prevention Month and we felt it important to share.
A Suicide survivors wish...
As a survivor of suicide and so many other things, suicide prevention is always so close to my heart. I've been in the mental health system for almost 14 years now and yet I, myself, am still searching for better help and better therapies. This suicide prevention month I mainly want to focus on a brilliant campaign I found on Instagram called DBT For All Campaign but let me tell you what DBT really is and my own experience of this life-saving therapy.

DBT stands for Dialectal Behavioural Therapy, which is an evidence-based psychotherapy that began with efforts to treat Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD or known also as EUPD), which is one of my many diagnosis'. This illness is categorised by strong mood swings lasting a few hours or even a couple days, dependant on the situation and individual. This illness makes it very hard for the sufferer to understand reason, and logic whilst in an episode and often leads to self-injury and suicidal ideation amongst many other symptoms. DBT is used to learn emotional regulatory skills as well as, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and mindfulness. In essence, this therapy gives out particular skills that can be used as healthier coping mechanisms for strong emotions. Distracting tools, or self-soothing skills that help us to learn how to self-regulate. Most people with BPD suffered an unhealthy upbringing or some kind of trauma in their past and trauma changes the way we view the world and our loved ones. My BPD tells me that nobody loves me, that I am unworthy of love and all that comes with it, that my friends or family secretly conspire behind my back, pretend to like me and ultimately that everyone will leave in the end.

Self-destructive behaviour patterns exacerbate these beliefs and I, myself, am always facing an internal fight between what my illness is telling me and what my loved ones tell me. BPD comes with huge emptiness, abandonment and trust issues so, retraining my beliefs and thought patterns is a serious struggle, but that is was DBT was made for. Although, for an illness like BPD it gets even tougher when we start to question our behaviours, our belief systems and the mere exploration of our mental illness can be very agitating. This illness does not want to be known, understood or overpowered. It wants the individual to stay as they are, using unhealthy and harmful coping skills. The dangers of leaving a mood disorder like this one untreated is the unrelenting illness itself and how it takes ahold of a sufferers life.

DBT however, shouldn't just be for mood disorders. Imagine how much stabilised our children would be if this therapy was implemented in their school? It is known that we begin obtaining empathy at 4 years old, so if we then factored into the mix daily DBT & mindfulness from this age we would bring up a generation of kids that understand how to self-regulate and look after their minds, super important for those developing years but also just in general. This therapy teaches you how to cope with intense emotions, sorrow, fear, anger etc... The skills learnt in DBT literally save lives, it's certainly saved my life multiple times.

An example of a skill that I probably use daily, is what I call the rule of 5. Taking 5-10 minutes to focus in, to take deep breaths and find 5 things you can hear, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can see, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. I will then take 5 minutes to reflect on this exercise, talking about each item in as much detail as possible. This distracts the emotional mind and makes your pre-frontal cortex get to work, this part of the brain is responsible for our cognitive function, expression, and decision making. Give it a try!

My one wish, this suicide prevention month is that our mental health services can be given a boost. The impact of the pandemic has been catastrophic to so many minds all over the world and I am calling on each of you to just do one good act today; go and sign the petition (linked below) for DBT for all, for anyone who may want or need but also, try and see where DBT skills can fit into your life.

The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people take their own life each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. In the UK, 1 in 5 people experience suicidal ideation in their lives, so what can those other 4 people be doing to help?

WARNING SIGNS & RISK FACTORS - talking or writing about suicide, Self- harm and self destructive behaviour, seeking out items that could be used for a suicide attempt (weapons, drugs) especially if this person has a mental disorder or has attempted suicide before. Studies have found that hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicide. People who feel hopeless may talk about “unbearable” feelings, predict a bleak future, and state that they have nothing to look forward to. Withdrawal, eating less, sleep disturbances/insomnia, chronic illness/disability, loss of interest & motivation. 

LISTEN & ADVISE- this is about being there for your loved ones. Listen to understand how they feel, not to react. If someone has come to you saying they're feeling suicidal, please remember they would have felt a huge burden on their shoulders just for telling you, so be sensitive in your approach, research more sensitive language to use. Negative attitudes in these conversations can cause more harm than good so refrain from making the individual feel shamed, guilty or attention seeking. Also, be there just the same as you were the first time - your loved one might need to come back to you time and time again to feel supported. We shouldn't be shrugging them off because of the frequency and longitude of their struggle. Healing isn't linear and some individuals really rely on their support systems to cope, day to day.

PETITIONS- suicide prevention isn't just about talking. Our mental health services are underfunded, and in huge demand. People are waiting over six months for a referral when they need the action as quickly possible. Imagine reaching out for help, when you're at your lowest, and you're told to wait half a year for that help to be given. Early intervention is KEY! A really important campaign going on at the moment is the @dbtforallcampaign which is now being pushed forwards for debate. 
Suicide prevention is for everyday, not just one day in September!
UK Samaritans: 116 123 (24hr)
UK Crisis Text line: Text SHOUT to 85258 to text with a trained Crisis Volunteer (24hr)
US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (24hr)
Australia Lifeline: 13 11 14 (24hr)
New Zealand Lifeline: 0508 828 865 (24hr)
Canada Crisis Text Line: text CONNECT (English) or PARLER (French) to 686-868
Follow Lizzey on instagram at @lovelightlizzey
Find out more about the DBT For All Campaign at @dbtforallcampaign
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