Suicide – signs to look for
Suicide continues to be a major cause of avoidable death among farmers in Australia. Occupational, environmental, social and climatic conditions, poor access to health care services and stigma all contribute.
People living on farms also have greater access to lethal means than people in the city. Sometimes what looks like a ‘farm accident’ is actually a suicide.
Farming can be extremely difficult at times. After years of drought some farm families then face crop and stock losses due to floods, fires, market changes or insect attack. It can seem overwhelming.
If you think someone close to you is depressed and talking about ‘ending it all’ or that they ‘can’t take anymore’. Don’t ignore it.
Your role as a support person is similar to performing ‘first aid’. That is, you do your best to support the suicidal person and try to link them up with professional mental health services.
Do whatever it takes to get them help as most people talk about it in some way before they act.
Signs to watch out for
Some signs that a person may be thinking of suicide include:
- Talking about death or hurting themselves
- Drinking more or using drugs
- Saying they feel there is no way out of their problems
- Abandoning social activities
- Feeling anger or rage
Things you can do which may help
- Tell the person how important they are to you and how you and others need them.
- Let them know that you understand how they feel, but don’t ignore the problem.
- If they want to talk, listen.
- Ask them if they would like to talk to someone outside the family, like a phone counsellor at the Suicide Call Back Service (details below) or Lifeline.
- Ring a phone counselling service yourself; the counsellor may have some advice that will help.
- Remove any means of suicide available, including weapons, medications, alcohol and other drugs, even access to a car. Be aware of your own safety.
- For immediate crisis intervention when life may be in danger, ring the ambulance or police on Triple zero, Tel. 000 or go to your local hospital emergency department.