Light a candle to support World Suicide Prevention Day

The number of people who say that they have been pulled back from the brink of suicide by speaking with Sri Lanka Sumithrayo (SLS) is a stark revelation of the extent of emotional distress in our society.

People faced with an emotional crisis mostly require informal and confidential emotional support, Sri Lanka Sumithrayo said in statement issued in connection with World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10.

``SLS volunteers/befrienders help callers by giving them a patient and caring hearing, and letting them unburden themselves by talking about their predicament.

``Volunteers are friends who have the time to listen, are non-religious, do not advise, criticize or counsel, but help the person to come to terms with the situation in which they find themselves and build up the confidence to cope with it.

``Help is available in Sinhalese, Tamil and English,’’ the statement said.

`` Very often a caller may have become suicidal simply because he/she has nobody trustworthy to confide in, being unwilling to share the problem with friends or relations fearing a lack of understanding, or worse, embarrassment and humiliation,’’ it explained.

``Thus the anonymity and confidentiality that is assured at SLS offer the distressed a very convenient and discrete source of relief.’’

In Sri Lanka, on an average, 12 persons die by suicide every single day of the year.

And for each person who dies by suicide, at least 10 others fail in their attempt to end their life.

Worldwide, suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15 to 44 years.

Suicide is a complex problem for which there is no single cause or single reason. It results from a complex interaction of biological, psychological, social, cultural and environmental factors. Suicide has no racial or class distinctions.

However, suicides can be prevented and suicide prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

A person who is suicidal feels isolated and alone with his or her problem, which seems beyond their capacity to cope with.

People contemplate suicide when their pain exceeds their resources for coping with it. At times like these, talking about their stressful situation with a non-judgmental, accepting, understanding and caring person can throw a different light on the situation and help diffuse the suicidal impulse.

Often, indicators of impending suicide go undetected, or are not addressed as they should be. If you, or one of your friends, acquaintances or family members exhibit the above warning signs, it is crucial that they be dealt with.

In addition to Befriending Services, SLS also conducts Awareness Programmes for those in need of Suicide Awareness and Prevention, including programmes on developing skills to deal with the everyday stresses of life.

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