Tuesday, 13 November 2012 14:55

Four Steps to Help


 Be aware of what your friends are doing and how they are behaving.  As a friend you could be one of the first to become aware of changes in behaviour:

Warnings signs to watch out for may include but are not limited to:

  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Having difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Feeling tired most of the time.
  • Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or guilty.
  • Talking about suicide or death.
  • Self-destructive behaviour like drinking too much or abusing drugs.
  • Losing interest in favourite things or activities.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Mood swings.


Let your friend know that you really care. Ask about their feelings. Listen carefully to what they have to say.

Here are some examples of how to begin the conversation:

"I'm worried about you/about how you feel."

"You mean a lot to me and I want to help."

"I'm here if you need someone to talk to."


Talking with a friend about suicide will not put the idea into their head. Be direct in a caring, non-confrontational way.

Here are some ways to ask the question:

"Have you ever thought about suicide?"

"Do you want to die or do you just want your problems to go away?"


If a friend tells you they are thinking of suicide, never keep it a secret, even if you're asked to. Do not try to handle the situation on your own. You can be the most help by referring your friend to someone with the professional skills necessary to provide the help that he or she needs. You can continue to help by offering support.

Here are some ways to talk to your friend about getting help:

"I know where we can get some help."

"Let's talk to someone who can help. Let's call the helpline now."

"I can go with you to get some help"


If a friend mentions suicide, take it seriously. If they have expressed an immediate plan, or have access to prescription medication or other potentially deadly means, do not leave them alone. Get help immediately from your GP or another medical professional. If necessary take your friend to the nearest hospital or Accident and Emergency.



Tuesday, 13 November 2012 13:48

Bullying and Suicide

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Research has shown that being a victim, perpetrator, or even a witness to bullying is associated with multiple behavioral, emotional, and social problems, including an increased risk for suicidal thoughts and actions.

In a recent survey in Ireland bullying was identified as being a more common factor in suicdal behaviour than expected (All Ireland Suicide Survey)

There are many people who can help deal with a bully, such as friends, older siblings, teachers, family members, community leaders or parents. It is always easier if you talk to someone you know and trust. Ask a friend to go with you to help you feel more comfortable or write down what is going on and how you are feeling.

If you think the person you are talking to doesn’t believe you or isn’t taking you seriously, it is important to remember that this doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid or that you are overreacting. It is important that you tell someone else and continue to do so until you get the help you deserve.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012 13:32

Managing your stress

Everyone experiences stress at some time or another. It might be caused by problems at school or work, relationships with friends, siblings or parents, moving to a new place, or a traumatic event.

Stress can affect people in different ways:
  • have you become sad, angry, or anxious
  • have you started to lack of confidence in yourself or in other important figures in your life
  • are you avoiding other people especially close friends or family
  • are you finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning
  • do you have an upset stomach or cramps
  • do you get tension headaches or knots in your neck or shoulders
  • are you having problems eating or sleeping
You probably can’t get rid of stress, so how do you manage it?

Challenge the causes

  • Try and identify the things causing you stress and challenge them if you can
  • Is it a person or people causing you stress? Try and talk to them about their behaviour
  • If you are a young teenager you may be experiencing hormonal stress from puberty, talk to an older sibling or your parents about what you are feeling
  • Keep a stress diary each night and record the things that seemed to cause you stress during the day

Challenge yourself

  • Express yourself – draw, write, play music
  • Exercise – walk, run, cycle, walk the dog, join a gym, play a sport
  • Avoid harmful behaviours like drugs, cigarettes and alcohol and situations where you might be put under peer pressure
  • Talk to someone – don't be afraid to ask a friend or your parents to listen or call a support line if you want confidental support
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 13:03

Youth Depression and Suicide

Not only adults become depressed. Children and teenagers also may have depression, as well. The good news is that depression is a treatable illness. Depression is defined as an illness when the feelings of depression persist and interfere with a child or adolescent's ability to function.

About 5 percent of children and adolescents in the general population suffer from depression at any given point in time. Children under stress, who experience loss, or who have attentional, learning, conduct, or anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for depression. Depression also tends to run in families.

The behavior of depressed children and teenagers may differ from the behavior of depressed adults. Child and adolescent psychiatrists advise parents to be aware of signs of depression in their youngsters.

If one or more of these signs of depression persist, parents should seek help:

  • Frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying
  • Decreased interest in activities; or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities
  • Hopelessness
  • Persistent boredom; low energy
  • Social isolation; poor communication
  • Low self esteem and guilt
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
  • Increased irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Difficulty with relationships
  • Frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches and stomachaches
  • Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school
  • Poor concentration
  • A major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns
  • Talk of or efforts to run away from home
  • Thoughts or expressions of suicide or self destructive behavior

A child who used to play often with friends may now spend most of the time alone and without interests. Things that were once fun now bring little joy to the depressed child. Children and adolescents who are depressed may say they want to be dead or may talk about suicide. Depressed children and adolescents are at increased risk for committing suicide. Depressed adolescents may abuse alcohol or other drugs as a way of trying to feel better.

Children and adolescents who cause trouble at home or at school may also be suffering from depression. Because the youngster may not always seem sad, parents and teachers may not realize that troublesome behavior is a sign of depression. When asked directly, these children can sometimes state they are unhappy or sad.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for depressed children. Depression is a real illness that requires professional help. Comprehensive treatment often includes both individual and family therapy. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) are forms of individual therapy shown to be effective in treating depression. Treatment may also include the use of antidepressant medication. For help, parents should ask their physician to refer them to a qualified mental health professional, who can diagnose and treat depression in children and teenagers.


This information was obtained from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) website.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012 15:17


If you are feeling suicidal or you know someone who is feeling suicidal then you should seek immediate help by contacting your GP or other health professional, or by calling one of the national support lines below:




Aware Ireland

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre


Recovery (Substance Abuse)

1850 60 90 90

1800 24 7 100

1800 66 66 66

1890 30 33 02

1800 77 88 88

01 833 8252

01 668 1855

If a friend mentions suicide, take it seriously. If they have expressed an immediate plan, or have access to prescription medication or other potentially deadly means, do not leave them alone. Get help immediately from your GP or another medical professional. If necessary take your friend to the nearest hospital or Accident and Emergency.

Friday, 23 November 2012 12:19

Why do some young people die by suicide?

Why do some young people die by suicide?

Everyone who is touched by a youth suicide, or is simply curious, asks this question. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, because each person who dies takes the reasons with them.

Suicide researchers have offered some general theories around the risk and protective factors related to suicide.

The risk factors affecting a person's life seem to fall into four areas:

Biological Sociological Psychological Existential
  • history of mental illness in family
  • depression
  • history of drug / acohol abuse in family
  • physical appearance
  • disability or illness
  • sexual orientation
  • gender
  • anxiety
  • drug / alcohol abuse
  • no-one to talk to
  • exposure to suicide
  • relationship issues
  • academic pressures
  • living up to expectations
  • pregnancy
  • divorce
  • bereavement
  • abuse
  • access to the means of suicide
  • bullying
  • peer pressure
  • "I'm a burden to everyone"
  • "Things would be better if I wasn't around"
  • "I hate myself"
  • "I am so stupid"
  • "Everyone hates me"
  • "Life is pointless"
  • "Why should I bother?"
  • "The world doesn't care"
  • "Nothing will ever get better"



 But there are also four areas of potentially protective factors as well:


Family Community School The Individual
  • loving and encouraging parents
  • family support
  • someone who is always available
  • brothers and sisters who show love and concern
  • supportive grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins
  • support from members of a team or group
  • friends of the family who can be trusted
  • living in a safe community
  • supportive and interested neighbours
  • strong community ties such as a church or political party
  • friends you can talk to
  • a teacher or other member of staff who notices you
  • people who believe in you
  • teachers who care
  • a safe place to learn
  • encouragement to learn
  • zero tolerance of bullying
  • acceptance of difference
  •  your own self-control
  • good levels of self-esteem
  • a sense of responsibility to self and family
  • developed coping skills
  • support of friends and peers
  • ways to vent frustration and anger safely
  • able to express your feelings and emotions
  • fear of death or dying


Life can feel like a series of random factors that we cannot always control but it is actually a balance between the risk factors and the protective factors in our lives. If we have more risk factors than protective factors then our sense of balance and self-worth can be lost, and if we have risk factors in all four areas then the risk of suicide is increased further. 

However Protective factors can bring things back into balance.  Sometimes just one person showing that they care or asking the right question is enough to prevent a tragedy.

Please remember that Suicide Prevention Works!!



 ! Information !

What can you do? Use our 4 steps to help:













Thursday, 15 November 2012 18:05

Golden Rules of Suicide Prevention


  • Listen to what people say to you and show that they can open up to you..
  • Don't be afraid to ask direct questions about suicidal thoughts - you won't put ideas into their head.
  • Never keep suicide a secret.- if someone asks you to keep their suicidal thoughts a secret you cannot keep that promise.
  • Dont try and deal with a situation on your own - always seek advice from a trusted adult or a medical professional
  • If someone is talking about an immediate suicide attempt, don't leave them alone and seek immediate help.

 For more information see "4 Steps to Help"



Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:33

After a death by suicide

Nothing should be done to glamorise or dramatise the event, but doing nothing can be as dangerous as doing too much. Every school should have policies and procedures that address the needs of the principal, teachers/staff, students and parents after a suicide.

Maureen Underwood and Karen Dunne-Maxim in their book, Managing Sudden Traumatic Loss in the Schools, identify the following:

Principals need:

  • Information about the death
  • Information about the deceased
  • A system for contacting necessary crisis resources
  • A strategy for responding to media requests
  • Support

Teachers/Staff need:

  • Information about the death
  • Information about the school's crisis response plan
  • Permission to grieve and a place to grieve
  • Preparation for students' reactions
  • Guidance in structuring school activities
  • Involvement in identifying high-risk students
  • Information about resources within the school and community
  • Support

Students need:

  • Information about the death
  • Permission to grieve and a place to grieve
  • Outreach to those most impacted by the death
  • Information about resources within the school and community

Parents need:

  • Information about the death
  • Information about the school's response
  • Preparation for children's reactions
  • Information about community resources
  • Support
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:29

After a suicide attempt

Lots of emotions swirl around after a suicide attempt. The young person who attempted to end his/her life may feel guilty or ashamed. Most feel relieved that they did not die. Family members and friends may be angry or judgmental, asking how could this have happened. Worry about if or when there might be another suicide attempt is common.

A youth who has attempted to end his/her life has a higher risk of later dying by suicide; research has shown that between 5 and 11 percent of people who survive a suicide attempt go on to die from suicide.

What you should know and do:

  • Reduce the risk of self-harm or suicide at the family home by removing or securing any weapons, knives, chemicals (weedkiller, rat poison etc);
  • Only keep small quantities of medications on hand or lock them in a cabinet and remove unused or expired medications;
  • Keep only small quantities of alcohol in the home;
  • Build supports for the child/youth who attempted suicide through counseling, family, friends, and community resources;
  • Be aware of "triggers", such as school, relationships or sports;

Being "strong" and providing that important "safety net" and a vision of hope for the suicidal youth can be emotionally exhausting. It is important that friends and family members get help from others. Utilize friends, relatives, and community resources; no one should handle this on their own!

Resources for help might include:




Aware Ireland

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre


Recovery (Substance Abuse)

1850 60 90 90

1800 24 7 100

1800 66 66 66

1890 30 33 02

1800 77 88 88

01 833 8252

01 668 1855



Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:21

Restricting the means of suicide

Means matter when it comes to suicide prevention

In an effort to prevent suicide, many suicide experts have focused their attention for the past two decades on identifying the risk factors, warning signs and reasons why a person attempts suicide. We've believed that if we understood the conditions that lead to despair and hopelessness and suicidal behavior we could prevent these unnecessary deaths. But we now know that we must also focus on how they attempt suicide.

Although the majority of youth suicides are completed by hanging, there are an increasing number of lethal overdoses with prescription medications so it is imperative that we reduce access to these lethal means.


Consider these facts:

  • Overdosing on prescription medication especially opiates is increasing as a way in which young people die by suicide.
  • The vast majority of youth (under age 18) who die medication overdose used a family member's prescribed drugs.


  • Consider temporarily removing prescription medications when a child or youth is going through an especially difficult time or keeping them at a neighbour or friend's house for safe custody.
  • Families should store their medicatons in a lockable cupboard or drawer; parents shouldn't assume that their child does not know where the medications are stored or where the key to a locked cupboard is hidden.
  • Mental health and medical providers should receive training on how to talk with suicidal youth and their families about lethal means.
  • Parents should monitor all medications in the home.  If your prescription is disappearing faster than normal your child may be hoarding medication.
  • Medicines should always be stored out of reach and sight of children.
  • Old and unused medicines should be disposed properly or returned to the pharmacy.


Page 3 of 4

Warning Signs

Warning signs may include but are not limited to:
Withdrawing from family and friends
Having difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly
Sleeping too much or too little
Feeling tired most of the time
Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight
Talking about feeling hopeless or guilty
Talking about suicide or death
Self-destructive behaviour like drinking too much or abusing drugs
Losing interest in favourite things or activities
Giving away prized possessions
Mood swings
If a friend mentions suicide, take it seriously. If they have expressed an immediate plan, or have access to prescription medication or other potentially deadly means, do not leave them alone. Get help immediately.


The Samaritans116 123
Pieta House1800 247 247
Aware1890 30 33 02
ISPCC Childline1800 66 66 66
Teen-Line Ireland1800 83 36 34

Contact Us

Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland (RCN20070670)
Atrium Business Centre
Blackpool Retail Park, Blackpool
Cork City, Ireland
Tel 021 - 242 7173
Email admin@yspi.eu