Suicide Prevention Awareness Month – CBT Kenya
Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.
While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength around a difficult topic. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.
Losing a loved one or someone close to you to suicide is one of the most challenging situations to navigate. The pain cannot be described, and the intensity of the loss cannot be measured in any way, shape, or form. Unfortunately, many individuals may give you advice after your loss. They may tell you that it is okay to move on or that you have to be strong for your family.
These words of advice are often stated with encouragement and the best intentions in mind, but any unsolicited advice can cut deep into your current wound. The death of a loved one from suicide will have a significant impact on every aspect of your life, and you will most likely experience intense feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion, anger, and grief. Suicide grief feels overwhelming and can leave you feeling isolated. As a suicide survivor, there is no right way to grieve, no right way to feel, and no right way to process your feelings.
Coping with suicide grief and taking care of your emotional health
- Your loved one’s suicide does not define them. Your loved one had achievements, meaning and most likely lived an incredible life. The end of their life, even if it occurred tragically, does not have to define their character. Celebrate and remember your loved one for their achievements, moments of celebration, and the many reasons why you loved this person.
- Find a support group. Finding individuals who have walked in your shoes can help you move through your grief. Many other suicide survivors are willing to share their experiences with other people. Lean into them even if you are not yet ready to share your story. Listening can help you feel less isolated in your grief. Lean in on your family and friends, even if they are not a part of your suicide support group.
- Keep a journal. Whether you choose to write down your feelings and experiences or write letters to your loved one, writing can be a therapeutic way to work through the dark side of grief. If you don’t know where to start, many journal prompts can guide you through this process.
- Allow yourself to find joy: Many suicide survivors will often feel guilty if they experience happiness. Allow yourself to feel joy, allow yourself to laugh, and let yourself to have fun. Laughter and joy are not signs of “less grief”; instead, they are part of the grieving process. Your loved one would have wanted you to experience these happy moments.
What are some tips to help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts?
- Ask. Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring way. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.
- Be There. Individuals are more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to someone who listens without judgment.
- Keep Them Safe. A number of studies have indicated that when lethal means are made less available or less deadly, suicide rates by that method decline, and frequently suicide rates overall decline.
- Help Them Stay Connected. Studies indicate that helping someone at risk create a network of resources and individuals for support and safety can help them take positive action and reduce feelings of hopelessness.
- Follow Up. Studies have shown that brief, low cost intervention and supportive, ongoing contact may be an important part of suicide prevention, especially for individuals after they have been discharged from hospitals or care services
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness on this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. In addition to shifting public perception, we use this month to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide. Our goal is ensuring that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.
CBT-Kenya (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Kenya) counseling center offers counseling and therapy sessions for persons from all walks of life. We focus on helping clients gain insight into themselves by going through a healing process. Our purpose is to help you to achieve your therapeutic and life goals, to improve the quality of your life and to help you to build strong relationships in your life. Get in touch or book an appointment on +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.