Preventing the Devastation of Suicide

Preventing the Devastation of Suicide

This is a guest post from Melissa Howard from Stop Suicide 


Suicide can be devastating for friends, family, and loved ones left behind. They often blame themselves for missing the signs, feeling as if it’s their fault. They may feel anger, disappointment, or frustration.

In addition, their own risk for suicide increases. According to Edwin Shneidman, the American Association of Suicidology’s Founding President, a survivor of suicide can be subject to the “largest mental health casualties related to suicide.”

How can you help prevent this tragedy? First, you must know the common risk factors and warning signs.

Know The Risk Factors

There are many risk factors for those who are contemplating suicide. According to statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, men are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide, while women attempt suicide more often.

Other people at risk include:

  • Those who have attempted suicide before.
  • People with a family history of suicide.
  • Those with untreated clinical depression or other mental health problems.
  • People who are isolated, withdrawn, or suffer chronic loneliness. Read the problems that loneliness can cause at Psychology Today.
  • People who are bullied or cyberbullied, especially teens. In fact, suicide rates for teenagers have more than doubled since 2007, according to the CDC.
  • Military veterans have a suicide rate of 20 per day.
  • People who have suffered a life-changing loss, disability, or other such trauma.
  • People with substance abuse disorders. Mental Health America writes that people with these disorders are “six times more likely to complete suicide than those without.”

Look for Warning Signs

  • If someone you love is in a high-risk group, look out for these signs:
  • Talk of giving away prize possessions.
  • Talking about “not being a burden” anymore.
  • Increased interest and discussion about death and dying.
  • Obtaining a firearm, drugs, or other means to commit suicide.
  • Unusual or new mood swings, including rage and aggression.
  • Increased use of drugs and alcohol.

Preventing Suicide

If a friend or family member fits the profile and you suspect they will commit suicide, it’s critical to act immediately. You can enlist the aid of other friends and family to come around and support your loved one if he trusts them.

Remain calm and remember to address him with love and compassion. Listen to what he has to say and express your concern rather than your opinion.

If you are uncertain what to say, call a crisis hotline for advice on how to address the issue. If your loved one is in imminent danger, tell the provider on the line. You may need to get him to a hospital right away. Read WikiHow’s article on how to stop someone who is suicidal.

Once a person gets the help he needs, stand ready to support him. That may include getting him to counseling, helping him find a support group, and providing more companionship than you have in the past. Open communication and clear support can help him build and maintain emotional wellness.

Mental Health And Substance Abuse

It’s also important that your loved one gets the right care. Mental health issues such as

anxiety, trauma, and depression often co-occur with drug and alcohol addiction. As mentioned, this can increase the risk of suicide.

Patients like these will need to address both their substance abuse disorder and any underlying mental health issues that it may mask. They may even consider an inpatient rehabilitation program to help keep them safe while they address all concerns.

Anyone can be at danger for suicide, but knowing the risk factors and warning signs can help you determine if someone you know needs help right now. Take action to keep them safe and get the right care before it’s too late.

The journey of healing and acceptance

The journey of healing and acceptance

This photo was snapped a couple of months ago and when I saw it, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it.  You know, you imagine yourself looking a certain way when a photo is taken but more often than not when you are shown the photo, you feel disappointed that the reality didn’t live up to the vision/fantasy you had in your head. When I saw this photo I felt a swell of pride, knowing how hard I have worked to master ‘scorpion pose’.

I love how the throat chakra is perfectly centered behind me, encouraging me to speak my truth to the world, to celebrate my unique voice and to SING! I was happy with how fit I look after a lifetime of borderline unhealthy relationship with food and being unhappy with my weight, sometimes downright loathing my body and being disgusted by it rather than feeling in awe and deeply grateful for how strong and healthy I am. But what I love the absolute MOST about this photo is the relaxed, content, peaceful,

centered expression on my face. This is such a triumph for me!! My yoga practice used to be an arduous struggle. I would push and wince through poses. I would compromise my breath in order to achieve the ‘perfect’ looking pose. I remember one time jumping through to a seated position from downward dog and stubbing my toe as I came through.
An immediate rush of irritation spread through me and I think I even uttered under my breath ‘Ugh! What an idiot you are!’. I was so hard on myself, abusive actually. I am incredibly relieved to be in a place where I am soft with myself! Where I take myself lightly and am friends with myself. When I saw how at ease my face looked in this photo, it was a testament to the years and years of deep work I have done to heal my relationship with myself.
I hope, above all other hopes, that you are on a similar journey of healing and acceptance.


Lots of love,


Is Anything Actually Ours?

Is Anything Actually Ours?

One of the fundamental principles of a yoga lifestyle is ‘aparigraha’ which means ‘non-grasping’ or ‘non-coveting’.  Even those of us not on a spiritual path have heard about the trappings of the ego and how the pursuit of ‘non-attachment’ can lead to an existence free from the ups and downs triggered by fluctuations in our external environment. Someone living from a place of ego (most of us) will likely experience elation when we are complimented and devastation when we are betrayed. We may feel satisfied with ourselves when we complete a task…then when that wears off, we go looking for the next thing to validate us and make us feel whole.
From a spiritual perspective, this constant seeking – or as the Vipassana Buddhists refer to as the endless cycle of ‘craving/aversion’ is what keeps us from being truly free. I try to practice ‘aparigraha’ as often as I can. I’m not very good at it, but when I find myself grasping at something, it gives me an opportunity to see myself more clearly and to see where there is work that needs to be done.
I had an experience a few years ago that powerfully demonstrated how external circumstances trigger emotional highs and lows. I was listening to a radio show and there was a contest: Call in and if they pull your birth month from a hat, you win $1000. If they then pull your actual birthdate, you win $10 000. I have never called in to a radio show, but somehow felt like today was my lucky day. The line was free and it rang! My heart started thumping as I imagined what I would do with my winnings. Suddenly, I heard the D.J greet someone on to the show. It wasn’t I hung up. I listened. After exchanging pleasantries, they pulled the month. April, My birth month. I instantly felt robbed of $1000! Next they pulled the date: the 20th. My jaw dropped. That is my birthday! I had just missed out on $10 000! It was fascinating for me to witness my reaction to this, My nervous system went haywire and feelings of disbelief and injustice washed over me. I marvelled at how it felt so real that I had just ‘lost’ something that essentially was never mine and never even existed! I was the same person I was a few minutes earlier only now I somehow felt like I had less! Nothing is really ours. We don’t actually ‘own’ anything whether it be a stack of money, a yoga posture or a relationship. We certainly don’t get to take any of our possessions with us to the grave! All we have is this moment and our breath. We are all abundant, we are all whole. Possessions come and go but they do not add or subtract from our essence, our inherent completeness.
I relayed this story to my mom and she, ever the optimist, exclaimed delightedly ‘Do you know what this means?! This means you are ‘this close’ to incredible luck and fortune! It’s just around the corner!’. And when I look within, it is in fact, already here.
Appreciating “the struggle”

Appreciating “the struggle”

WRUS #52 Michael is joined by owner of De La Sol Yoga, Katie McClelland and her husband Andre Grandbois who owns his own martial arts gym, Ouroboros BJJ. Together they discuss being mindful, appreciating “the struggle” and different ways we can impact and inspire youth. For more on Katie, Andre and their practises follow their journey on Instagram @andregrandbois, @Ouroborosjj, @katiedelasol & @delasolyoga

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