CPR to Prevent Suicide; What Can You Do When You Suspect Suicide? 5 Action Steps

With celebrity suicides, there is a lot in the news about it, and it usually leads to an increase in suicide rates in the community. Many people feel sad and helpless when they hear about this kind of news. Do you? How do you cope? In this article series, I have tried to address some of the ways you can cope. In my last article, I shared some tips on How to Cope with a Suicide in the Community. For this article, let me share what you need to know about suicide prevention and what you can do when you suspect that a friend or a family member may be feeling suicidal.

Before I go into how, let’s review how big the issue is a how likely you are to encounter such news. In 2016, nearly 45,000 lives have been lost to suicide in the USA alone.  According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control, the suicide rates have increased by overall 25% in the US since 1999. It is more than a mental health concern as more than half of people (54%) who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition. Although mental illness is a major risk factor, there are many other risk factors like loneliness, relationship issues, financial issues, and substance use, to name a few. Any stress that can cause strong emotions which you are not equipped to cope with can put you, and people you care about, at risk.

It is likely that someone around you may be feeling suicidal. When you see changes in a person that make you worry they might be suicidal, what can you do?

 

Knowing that you need to take action.

My friend Sheila asked me “What can I do? I feel sad and I want to do something but I am not a mental health professional.”

She is an avid swimmer. So I asked her, “If you saw someone drowning, would you do nothing because you are not a trained lifeguard?”

She replied, “No.”

You try to do what is in your capacity and try to call for help, right?

Similarly, when you notice changes in someone and they are not in their best form, you can do simple “CPR” by asking and listening. I was moved by this story of a girl who shared how a teacher saved her from suicide by just asking and listening. 

You may be worried that is is too sensitive of a topic to bring up.

My friend told me that death and suicide is a taboo topic in her culture so it is not talked about. She also avoids it as it is so hard and she is afraid; what if it gives someone ideas and increases the chances of suicide?

Well, the research indicates otherwise. Many people who are feeling that desperate, actually feel like no one cares. When they feel that you care, they may open up. The people who don’t feel suicidal respond right away and say, “I would never do that to my family or friends.” The people who are thinking of suicide, may or may not open up depending on the stage they are in. But if you don’t ask, they may not have an opportunity to open up. So, if you can save someone by asking, wouldn’t you?

Yes it is hard and you may not be fully equipped to deal with the severe situations, but at least you can try to make it easier for the person to be able to talk to someone who is trained.

Five Action Steps.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has developed this five action steps for communicating with someone who may be suicidal so that you could be the one to save a life. These steps are:

 

#1 Ask

# 2 Keep them safe

# 3 Be there

# 4 Help them connect

# 5 Follow up

 

How do I start the conversation?

My friend asked me, how do I start the conversation? You can be just yourself and ask what comes naturally. In this one minute video, see what some people have shared how they would start the conversation:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jTgOJ3tACI

 

You can also make a difference and save lives by connecting and listening. What if you don’t connect with people, care, and listen? You may continue to feel sad and helpless. If you do ask and listen, you can be the one who saves lives.

So starting today, make an intentional effort to connect with a friend that either you have not connected for some time or who just looks down. Ask and listen.

 

To your Health and Happiness

 

Dr. Rozina

#1 Best Selling Author, Speaker, and Psychiatrist

First Graders List of Gratitude

When I ask adults what they are grateful, sometimes they struggle. To help them, I usually give examples of simple things that we take for granted. Once a man said, “but they have been there all my life.”  He didn’t see the reason to count them as blessings. Many times we don’t realize extraordinariness of the ordinary experiences in our lives and feel the emptiness.

On the other hand, kids have an easier time. They are so cute and see the significance of simple blessings that surround us. I recently had the privilege of being with few first graders for 15 minutes.  I asked them; “let’s make a list of all the things we are grateful for until your teacher comes. She would be impressed.” I checked if they knew the meaning of the word grateful and they said it means thankful. Here’s the list they came up with the prompt:

TYAF {Thank you, Allah (God) For}.

  1. God

  2. dad – parents

  3. family

  4. Christmas presents

  5. Xbox

  6. Wii ( game)

  7. Legoland

  8. bowling alley

  9. eyes

  10. my little brother (brothers and sisters)

  11. brain

  12. prayers

  13. dog (pets)

  14. world

  15. food

  16. drinks (water and juice)

  17. legs

  18. arms/hands

  19. cars/trucks/buses

  20. teachers

  21. close

  22. shoes

  23. jackets

  24. bed

  25. house

  26. electricity

  27. blankets

  28. Ink/marker/board

  29. table/chairs

  30. forks/spoons/napkins/plates

Then they added their names to the list as they were thankful for themselves.

Inspiring!

Can you come up with at least three things you are grateful for every morning?

If you do, it will enhance your contentment in life. If you don’t practice some positive routine like this, you will be at risk of feeling stress and emptiness.

I have practiced gratitude journal myself for the last 14 years and seen it’s a positive impact on my life. I have witnessed its a powerful impact on the level of health and happiness of many clients who have adopted the practice. Now I am on a mission to help you enjoy its benefit too.

I encourage you to start your gratitude practice today.

If you don’t like to write in a journal, open the notes section on your phone and make an entry of 3 words you appreciate in life. It may take less than a minute but can make your whole day feel much more positive. If you like to write in a journal, my Stress to Joy Guided Gratitude Journal may help you. I have packed it with prompts, inspiring quotes, and provoking ideas to help you immediately shift into a place of gratitude. Order copies for yourself, friends and family today. What could be a better gift this year than the ultimate tool for joy, peace, and contentment?

If you missed getting the gift of a sample from the journal, you could still get it by clicking here.

 

Dedicated to your health and happiness.

 

Dr. Rozina Lakhani
Psychiatrist, Transformational Speaker, and Author of # 1 Bestselling book; “Stress to Joy.”

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Easiest and Cheapest Way to Enhance Your Contentment in Life

“I am grateful for having an address.”  Answered a patient when I asked what she was grateful for that day. It is my habit to ask that question while I am writing their prescriptions at the end of their session. I looked at her inquisitively.

She told me that as she was homeless for two months, she did not have an address to get her mail. Further, she explained to me that as soon as she settled in the housing she found, she went to the post office to update her address. She still had a daunting task of calling all her creditors. They may have charged her penalties for not paying in time because she did not get her mail for those months.

Have you ever thought about that?

Are you grateful for having an address?

A place where you can get your mail. A place where you can go to bed when you want to. ( She told me that when you are sleeping on other people’s coaches, you can’t go to bed when you want. You have to fit your host’s schedule. ) A home where you feel relatively safe. (She shared that when you are sleeping in a car, you are always on alert because anybody can come and rob you, hurt you, or ask you to move).

I realized how many things we take for granted.

Therefore I write my gratitude journal every day and have done it for 14 years. I have seen its benefit, and therefore I am on a mission to educate, motivate and spread happiness.

When you write a gratitude journal every day, you can bring attention to simple things in life that you may have taken for granted. Once you bring those to your awareness your focus shifts from what is missing in life to what is there in life. You can feel more content. When something is wrong, you are hurting, or things are not going to your desire, your mind keeps focusing on that. If you have a practice of writing a gratitude journal, you can shift your mood from the negative to positive every day. I think this is the easiest and cheapest way to enhance contentment in life.

Do you practice gratitude journaling? If yes, please share your success story on how it helps you.

If not, start today. Begin with the primary prompt of “I am grateful for” ( IGF in short), and list all the things for which you are thankful.

Once you get used to doing that, you can add other prompts.

In order to guide people to start, resume or take their practice to the next level, I have published a Stress to Joy Gratitude Journal. Order one for yourself or a gift for a loved one.

Dedicated to your Health and Happiness

Dr. Rozina Lakhani

Psychiatrist, Transformation Speaker, and Author of the #1 Bestseller; "Stress to Joy"

Tips for Happiness - Prologue

Thank you for giving these words space in your life. I hope they bring happiness and harmony in your life. The next few posts will consist of PAS:

P: Practice/Technique

A: Attitude

S: Story

The practices described are simple adaptation of the techniques we use in therapy so they could be used by anybody.

The attitude is a small thing but has a big impact. It is like glasses with which we see our situation. If the tint is dark, everything appears dark to us. If the glasses are clear, we see the colors and brightness of life. Excessive colored glasses can also alter our perception (which can happen when people are intoxicated or manic).

The stories I'll utilize are from real life situations. These people are from all walks of life, the stories are not dramatic or sensational (like most media stories, although I certainly hear a lot of them in my practice as a psychiatrist), but are mostly ordinary life situations that most people can relate to. At least one of these stories is bound to touch your heart.

Remember, knowledge until it is used to adapt attitude and practiced in life may not be of much use. So please apply what you learn and notice the enhancement in your joy in life. Please come back and share your experiences to help others.

-Rozina