for suicide prevention to remember a lost loved one and for the survivors of suicide.
On my sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch upon my blogging break end I posted my return entry with some bad news of the loss of one of my original followers from the days of the JFLAG blog and Sunshine Cathedral blog as well, Mark Holford took his own life and surprisingly as no signs of trouble were seen as is usually the case as friends and colleagues mull over recent contact for any details they may have missed as to the signs. Other cases have since emerged with another two successful attempts within the same month of Mark’s departure. He had been a major supporter of mine from the NING page days as well through to the name and focus change of both blogs mentioned above to become this blog and Gay Jamaica Watch and the subsequent Wordpress branch and my X-rated Battymantings blog as well. He was often a strong commenter and contributor to my Facebook groups and pages and his presence will be missed greatly. He was also a donor behind the scenes in crisis intervention matters where he could and aided in providing financial help in shelter assistance for displaced persons when I used to house persons in my spare bedroom more often than nowadays, grocery stipends and health services costs.
Some six reports in all have been brought to my attention this year alone and with depression figures high in Jamaica overall according to a recent report there are some concerns. Relationship challenges, family rejections, forced evictions and such specific to LGBT people are key factors leading to all kinds of ways out; a recent report of cutting (hand slicing with a knife or sharp instrument) with prolonged hemorrhaging leading to unconsciousness and possible death have been attempted by a lesbian in February where she was found by visiting friends who also were shocked at the find as no signs existed prior.
There are some signs however that one can look for as suggested by the website for suicide prevention:
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. What drives so many individuals to take their own lives? To those not in the grips of suicidal depression and despair, it's difficult to understand what drives so many individuals to take their own lives. But a suicidal person is in so much pain that he or she can see no other option.
Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can't see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. They wish there was an alternative to committing suicide, but they just can't see one.
Common misconceptions about suicide
FALSE: People who talk about suicide won't really do it.
Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like "you'll be sorry when I'm dead," "I can't see any way out," — no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
FALSE: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.
FALSE: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
You don't give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true—bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
Source: SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
Warning signs of suicide
Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them. If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved.
Major warning signs for suicide include talking about killing or harming oneself, talking or writing a lot about death or dying, and seeking out things that could be used in a suicide attempt, such as weapons and drugs. These signals are even more dangerous if the person has a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder, suffers from alcohol dependence, has previously attempted suicide, or has a family history of suicide.
Take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It's not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide—it's a cry for help.
A more subtle but equally dangerous warning sign of suicide is hopelessness. 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.
Other warning signs that point to a suicidal mind frame include dramatic mood swings or sudden personality changes, such as going from outgoing to withdrawn or well-behaved to rebellious. A suicidal person may also lose interest in day-to-day activities, neglect his or her appearance, and show big changes in eating or sleeping habits.
Suicide Warning Signs
Talking about suicide
Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as "I wish I hadn't been born," "If I see you again..." and "I'd be better off dead."
Seeking out lethal means
Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
Preoccupation with death
Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.
No hope for the future
Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped ("There's no way out"). Belief that things will never get better or change.
Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden ("Everyone would be better off without me").
Getting affairs in order
Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.
Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again.
Withdrawing from others
Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.
Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a "death wish."
Sudden sense of calm
A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to commit suicide.