Suicide Prevention: Warning Signs and Ways to Support

suicide prevention

Raising awareness to help suicide prevention is so important, especially right now. The uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 has caused an increase in depression, anxiety and hopelessness about the future.

factors which can lead to suicide

Three of the leading factors that contribute to suicide are: 

  • Isolation
  • Feeling like a burden 
  • A sense of hopelessness. 

Facts About Suicide

Suicide is the 10th biggest cause of death worldwide.

The World Health Organization estimates that one person dies of suicide every 40 seconds.

Trinidad and Tobago has the 3rd highest suicide rate in the Caribbean.

79% of suicides in Trinidad and Tobago are a result of domestic issues.

(Source Dr. Katija Khan, former president of Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists)

16 Warning Signs that Someone May Be Suicidal

  1. Talking about wanting to die
  2. Questioning the point of life
  3. Talking about being a burden to others
  4. They have experienced distress, trauma or other major life change
  5. Talking about ways to kill themselves
  6. Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  7. Socially withdrawn from their life
  8. They don’t see a way out of a difficult situation
  9. Struggling to find meaning in the things they used to
  10. Talking hopelessly about the future
  11. They display signs of self-harm
  12. Talking about feeling trapped or suffocated
  13. Express extreme self-hatred
  14. Sudden increase in reckless behavior
  15. They feel as if no one cares about them
  16. Expressing extreme loneliness

10 Ways to Support Someone Who May Be Suicidal

  1. Get help from a trained professional
  2. Remind them they are not alone.
  3. Use open-ended questions when talking to them
  4. Actively listen and repeat what they said to show you have understood.
  5. Help them with a daily task so that they feel supported.
  6. Give them a hug (if possible)
  7. Spend quality time with them
  8. Let them know that you’re not judging them, that we all struggle with life.
  9. Be respectful. Acknowledge and hold space for the person’s feelings.
  10. Offer to make the appointment / go with them to get the help they need.

If you think someone in your life is suicidal, please take them seriously.

Trinidad and Tobago Contact Numbers & Resources

Lifeline: 645-2800

Ambulance: 811 or 990

Emergency Centers

Eric Williams Medical Complex: 663-9470

Arima Health Facility: 667-1766

Chaguanas Health Facility: 671-0041

San Fernando Gen. Hospital: 653-4343

Sangre Grande Hospital: 668-2468

 

Find a qualified psychologist

www.psychologytt.org

www.notokaytt.org

Ten Ways to Deal with the Anxiety Surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic

deal with the anxiety surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic

It’s okay if you have anxiety because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

It’s okay if you’re worried about your future.

It’s okay if you’re overwhelmed by everything that’s happening right now.

Although the stress and anxiety you may be feeling is a perfectly valid response to this uncertain time, it can be damaging to the immune system over long periods. 

It’s why I wanted to share ten easy and accessible ways to help you stay calm and grounded throughout this unprecedented time.

Ten Ways to Stay Calm During the Coronavirus Pandemic:

1. Take a few deep breaths.

Research shows that your breath is a powerful tool to ease stress and make you feel less anxious. Taking a few deep breaths can make a big difference in managing your anxiety if you make it a part of your daily routine. 

2. Journal about how you’re feeling.

By writing about your thoughts and feelings, you can gain valuable insights into why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. This can help you to release the emotions you’re feeling, identify what you can control and what you can’t, and help you to map out a plan which focuses on the factors you can control. 

3. Mindfully drink something.

Moving your attention from your mind to your body can help to reduce your anxiety. As you take a sip of your favorite drink, pay attention to the temperature of it. Notice the the way it tastes and feels in your mouth. 

4. Get creative

Creativity engages and focuses our minds on the task at hand – and helps us to move past our feelings of stress and anxiety. Research actually shows that different forms of artistic expressions can decrease in our levels of cortisol, a hormone that the body secretes to respond to stress.

5. Move your body.

All forms of movement medicine (exercise, dancing, stretching, etc) has long been proven to increase the feel good hormones in the body. Regular exercise can also help you to sleep better, which can further reduce anxiety and depression.

6. Limit your daily news exposure.

There is a difference between being responsibly informed, and being overwhelmed and inundated by what’s happening. Decide when is the best time for you to catch up on the impact of Coronavirus. Try to avoid checking in throughout the day.

7. Listen to soothing music.

8. Watch funny movies or TV shows. 

9. Spend time on a hobby

10. Connect with loved ones regularly.

This is probably the most important point on this list. Having meaningful connection with loved ones will help you to feel supported during this very difficult time. If you’d like some guidance on maintaining connections while social distancing, check out my recent post here. 

Everything surrounding this Coronavirus pandemic is overwhelming and stressful.

This makes it even more essential to take care of yourself.

Even though this list not exhaustive, I hope that it can help you to stay healthy throughout this time.

By doing a few small things everyday, you can help to reduce stress and inflammation in your body and bring some space and calm to your anxious mind. 

Know someone who might need these tips? 

Share this post with them.

How Can You Have A Healthy Relationship After Trauma

Relationship and Love

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “How can you have a healthy relationship after trauma.”

The most important thing I did

Was to free myself 

Of the unrealistic expectation

That I had to be completely healed

To be worthy of lasting love.

Our relationships have the potential to be

Conduits for our healing

Vessels for our growth

Hospitals for our heart.

If we let them,

Our relationships will allow us to see 

Where we’re still wounded

While celebrating our growth and our healing.

But we have to be honest

With ourselves and our partners

About where we are in our healing journey

And what we need. 

Because only then will our relationships be

Less about two incomplete people

Searching in vain for completion in each other.

And more about

Two complete, authentic, 

Beautifully messy individuals

Learning, healing and 

Rising in love together. 

If you’re interested in having a healthy relationship, click here to learn more about my new workbook for single women, Get the Love You Deserve. 

Or you can also click here to purchase the ebook version on Amazon. 

The Problem with The Secret (and The Law of Attraction)

the secret, the law of attraction

The reason the Secret was so popular, the reason it was right is because it teaches us that our lives will only change when we recognize our personal power. 

But the problem with it, with the Law of Attraction, is true power embraces the complexities of being human.

Doubts, fears and anxieties are a part of that. 

We can get some much needed perspective by embracing them, by investigating them, instead of trying to avoid them. 

I can honestly say this after wasting years of my life trying to avoid my fears and anxieties…

After wasting years of my life afraid of the questions that were coming up.

The most growth I’ve had…

My biggest breakthroughs and opportunities came only after acknowledging that I felt stuck and overwhelmed.

Being brave enough to look into these feelings helped me to discover if they were valid. 

If they were valid, I got to create a plan of action to deal with them.

And if they weren’t valid, I got to release them

Either way I felt so much better… 

So much more prepared…

So much more free.

If you’d like some help in dealing with your doubts and anxieties check out the framework I mentioned below. It’s something I created after wasting years of my life being crippled by anxiety. You can find it below along with an example from my own life. It’s yours to use anytime you’re feeling confused, doubtful or anxious.

(Of course, if fears and anxieties get overwhelming, please talk to a qualified psychologist.)

FRAMEWORK TO HELP WITH DOUBT, FEAR AND ANXIETY-

Example from my life:

An incident with a meditation teacher who ended up being accused of sexually assaulting several women.

My desire for a mentor, a guru, made me blind to the early red flags in that relationship. It made me blind to times he crossed boundaries, to the times he said or did something to get me comfortable with him having access to my body and control over my life. 

His predatory behavior could have ended with me being assaulted if I didn’t eventually pay attention to the doubts and questions that I had.

The framework below uses this incident as an example to show how helpful it can be to investigate our doubts and uncertainties.

What happened? 

(Psychologists refer to this as the Activating Incident. You can think of it as the the thing that triggered the feeling below.)

At the end of my first meditation session, the meditation teacher told me my heart chakra was blocked and he touched my chest

How am I feeling?

Confused and a little worried.

Is this feeling valid?

I think so.  It doesn’t make sense that he would do that when I came to him for help for sexual assault

What am I telling myself to ignore this feeling?

Maybe meditation teachers are more physical. Maybe this is normal for people like this.

What might happen if I ignore this feeling?

It can happen again. He might continue to do things that makes me feel confused and uncomfortable.

What can I do address this feeling?

Talk to someone who’s been in a situation like this. Find out if it actually is normal.

How will I move forward?

If they say it’s normal, but I’m still not comfortable with it, I can try to set a boundary. I should also try to set a boundary if it happens again just to let him know that I’m not comfortable with people touching me right now.

Boundaries Are Essential For Happy Relationships

We’ve all had people in our life who treat us badly.

They’re rude to us, they talk down to us, they can be really aggressive or manipulative. They might even be verbally or physically abusive.

And it can be really difficult to know how to tell them to stop. Because, like I mentioned in the video, most of us didn’t grow up knowing how to set boundaries.

But it’s essential, for our relationships and for our happiness, to be able to teach people how to treat us better.

We need to learn how to say no, how to set effective boundaries, so that we don’t reinforce their undesirable, manipulative  or abusive behavior.

The 5 steps below are something I’ve used again and again to help me set boundaries, to remind myself that I deserve love and respect, and to walk away when I’m not getting it from someone so that I might give it to myself.

These steps were put together by the psychologist Kati Morton. They may be of value to you if you struggle with setting healthy boundaries.

Step 1: Notice when we reinforce the bad behavior of others. This is an important  first step if, like me, you’ve grown up in a home without boundaries. So pay attention to when you say yes to someone when you really want to say no.

Step 2: Recognize that we have the right to walk away from others. You do not have to stay in a conversation or situation that makes you feel like crap. You might tell the other person you’d be willing to speak with them if they stop being disrespectful or manipulative.

Step 3: Understand that we have the right to say NO if something is not in our best interest. Saying no doesn’t make us rude or selfish or a bad person. It’s actually a sign of healthy self-respect because we’re honoring what we need for our happiness.

Step 4: Act upon our recognition that the relationship is unhealthy. We always have the ability to distance ourselves from toxic people. Even if we live with those people we can still limit the time we spend around them, we can still choose to be emotionally unavailable for toxic people.

Step 5: Stick with it. If you feel guilty for setting boundaries ask your self “is it more important that other people like me or that I like me?”  This is where heathy self-respect, healthy self-love, comes from. Reinforcing this and acting consistently will help to ensure we’re treated the way we want to be.

How to Stop an Anxiety Attack- A One Minute Technique

It was a regular evening.

I was sitting in a taxi on my way to an appointment. 

The phone in my hand lit up with a new message.

Everything slowed down as I read it.

My heart started pounding against my chest… as though trying to escape the car before the rest of my body. 

My throat went dry.

My chest tightened. 

The car suddenly felt too small. 

I had to get out. 

Struggling to keep my voice calm, I told the driver to let me out and I started walking. I didn’t know where I was going but I was in hurry to get there.

I stopped. Closed my eyes. And took a deep breath. 

I’d felt like this before. 

I was in the middle of an anxiety attack. 

And I knew the message caused it. The contents of the message wasn’t devastating. But it was triggering. And my brain and body didn’t seem to know how to handle it. 

I took another deep breath and reminded myself that I wasn’t in any immediate  danger. 

It didn’t help. 

I took yet another deep breath  and tried to remember what my therapist  told me to do in this situation. 

It was a 54321 technique, but I couldn’t recall exactly what the 54321 things were. 

They came back in fragments:

Five things you can see…

Some things you can hear…

One thing you can taste.

I knew I wasn’t  remembering everything perfectly  but it didn’t matter. 

By focusing on my breathing, the taste of gum in my mouth and the sights and sounds around me,  my errant heart starting slowing to it’s usual rhythm.

That technique didn’t actually save my life that day but it felt like it did. 

So I’d like to share it with you.

It’s actually a proven way of treating  anxiety attacks. And it only takes less than a minute. 

The version below is from the Calm meditation app. It’s something I’ve revisited a number of times whenever I felt stressed or overwhelmed . 

If you suffer from anxiety I sincerely think it’ll help.

If you don’t suffer from anxiety but know someone who does, please share this post and video with them. They’ll thank you for it.