You may have seen Vas J Morgan with glitterati such as Rita Ora and Paris Hilton. With Vas’s new brand recently launched, from the outside, it appears as if he “has it all”. However, following his admission of considering killing himself Melissa Day, Celebrity Inner Child Therapist and speaker at the Celebrating Strengths – Men’s Retreat, outlines nine potential signs that someone may be considering suicide. As a champion of the importance of mental health support, she urges you to be aware of friends, family and work colleagues. She asks you to check on them and to have meaningful conversations because most people thinking about suicide do not want to end their lives they want their (emotional, physical) pain to stop. Listening is a powerful intervention.
(Note: Every person thinking about suicide may not show some of the signs listed below however, this may be helpful information, if you are concerned about someone)
Giving possessions & final arrangements
You may notice that someone is giving away their treasured possessions. This behaviour can indicate, that a person may be contemplating suicide. The reason they are doing this, is to make certain things are organised and dealt with before they go. They may be giving these items away through a sense of nostalgia or as a symbolic keepsake. Those thinking about suicide, may make final arrangements unexpectedly. For example, writing or adding a change to a will or investigating life insurance. Behaviour could include saying goodbye to those that are close and finalising unfinished business, such as making amends with anyone that they’ve had disagreements with.
In order to execute suicide, a great deal of energy is required to plan it. It’s very common for those in contact with the person just before they died, to feel as if the suicide came “out of the blue”, as they recall them as being calm, happy – and that they came across as having a sense of relief and relaxation and even euphoric. This is due to the person’s plan being finalised and they feel as if they can escape from the pain they’re feeling. Importantly then, no emotion can be disqualified from someone who is thinking about suicide. It’s therefore important to observe change and fluctuations in mood and behavioral patterns.
If someone becomes uncontactable, whether this be by phone, email or social media, this may indicate that someone is considering suicide. Some common phrases that can be heard by someone wishing to die by suicide: “I don’t want to be here”, “no one cares”, “I’m a burden”, “everyone’s better off without me”, “no one would notice if I go”, “I don’t belong here”, “I don’t know what my purpose or contribution to this world is” and “I’m a waste of a life”. When someone feels this way, becoming uncontactable, may be reflective, of how they perceive their connection to others and the world at large so they are symbolically severing that tie and it can make them feel, it’s one step closer to executing their plan.
Increased drug or alcohol misuse
An increase in alcohol or drugs, does not necessarily mean someone is planning suicide but there can be heightened risk, as the likelihood to act impulsively is increased, with impaired judgement and lack of clarity of mind. “Many suicides happen impulsively in moments of crisis, with a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness” (World Health Organisation).
Personality and presentation
The planning of suicide, can have a considerable impact, on the most core aspects of who we are and how we show up to the world. Someone known for being “the life of the party”, may become completely withdrawn, unreachable by usual means and isolated or they may come across as being relaxed, calm and quiet. These out of character changes, although some may seem like positive traits, could be an indicator that someone is consumed by thoughts of suicide and actioning their plans. In addition, you may notice a change in how they present themselves, for example, someone who always wore makeup and dressed well, could suddenly take little notice about their appearance or hygiene.
Studies have shown that people with suicidal thoughts, take more risks and have less care for their safety. As mentioned, this could be increased alcohol or drug use. Additionally, risks could include such behaviour as not safely crossing the road, unsafe sex, erratic and reckless driving and getting into fights. This self-destruction communicates, that the person has no value for themselves or their life. They may say how they’re feeling, with words such as: “I feel like driving off the road”.
Self-harm and repeated suicide attempts
Self-harm is a sign someone might be suicidal. Examples include cutting, poisoning and burning oneself. Also, repeated suicide attempts means that someone has suicidal tendencies. “A prior suicide attempt, is the single most important risk factor for suicide, in the general population (World Health Organisation).
Language & Listening
Meet someone where they “are at” in their pain. Saying something along the lines of “you’re not going to do anything…”, may be interpreted as judging them and saying they’re stupid. Rather, we must meet people with direct, clear, kind and compassionate communication. They need to feel heard and understood. Listening is a powerful intervention.
Most people thinking about suicide let others know, consciously or unconsciously. People contemplating suicide, may say the following or similar phrases and questions: Have you ever thought about ending your life? What are your thoughts on suicide? How would you take your own life? What do you think is the best way to kill yourself? These questions are raised, due to wanting someone’s advice and opinion on ending their life by suicide, whilst not directly admitting that this information is for them. This can also be someone trying to give you signals and signs that they want your help. Listen out for use of language, such as, “I’m struggling”, “I don’t have any value here”, “I have no one” and “I feel worthless”.
Unusual sleep patterns can be seen in suicidal people. A sleep disorder, such as insomnia does not cause suicide; it’s restless thoughts and stress from personal problems, causing disrupted sleep. The inability to sleep may be a sign, that someone is suffering from suicidal ideation. A depletion in rest and recovery, results in low energy levels and people find a lack of motivation, to do the most basic of tasks and activities. Additionally, activities that someone loved, will be avoided and they’ll have no interest in them.
Melissa Day, Celebrity Inner Child Therapist and speaker at the Celebrating Strengths – Men’s Retreat concluded: “Most people who are thinking about suicide, don’t get an opportunity to talk about it openly and so it is of utmost importance, for us to erase the stigma. With more than 1 in 20 people making a suicide attempt, at some point in their lives (Samaritans), it’s really important that we open up the conversation about this perceived taboo subject.”
Celebrating Strengths – Men’s Retreat
Melissa is one of a number of experts, sharing her expertise at the Celebrating Strengths – Men’s Retreat.
The all-male retreat focuses on enabling self-insight and empowerment. Learning points will cover the psychology of self-development and personality, including strengths psychology. The retreat will combine Inner Child Therapy and Shadow Work. Learning how to reconnect with your inner child and re-parent yourself, is a powerful and quick technique, to free you from emotional and mental issues, that are not serving your highest good and purpose. We’ll also be exploring what healthy masculinity means and shine a spotlight on the masculine and feminine energies that reside in us all, in order to tap into the innate power of both. This will help you lead an even more fulfilling and authentic expression of who you are.
This retreat is designed to empower you, with greater knowledge of the “psychology of the mind”, as well as focusing on the importance of spiritual health. Combining both, is the bridge that forms optimum health and well-being.