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Preventing suicide (suicide) in depressed people in the social environment
The German Society for Suicide Prevention lists suicide as one of the most common causes of death. According to WHO estimates from 2008, around 1,000,000 people died as a result of suicide worldwide. In Germany alone, the number was 10,000 in 2006. The number of suicide attempts is said to be about ten times as much. One of the main causes of ending your life is depressive illness.
Depression is the most common cause of suicide The news of the suicide of professional soccer player Robert Enke on November 10th, 2009 fueled the discussion on the subject of "depression" with the renewed demand for the taboo on depressive disorders in soccer. Since nobody in Enke's sporting and professional environment wants to have noticed signs of depression or even an impending suicide, the calls are now louder to “open up” and “pay attention to the other”. After all, in competitive sport you have to deal with enormous pressure to perform, internal and external expectations and demands and the associated psychological stress. But these demands must not be limited to football. In particular, professional pressure to perform with fear of failure, but also the fear of unemployment and financial worries can be a "constant stress" factor in almost every professional field or trigger a depressive illness if there is a genetic predisposition or unprocessed events in one's own life story are already burdening the soul. The exact mechanisms underlying depression have so far been considered insufficiently clarified (see also article Depression). It is known, however, that around two-thirds of suicide attempts or completed suicides are carried out as a result of depression, especially when there is addiction, separation or a serious physical illness.
The call for more mindfulness in our social environment affects us all. But how do we recognize that a work colleague, someone from friends, acquaintances or a sports club is depressed and has serious thoughts of suicide?
The depression usually makes itself felt outwardly through changes in behavior. A social withdrawal can often be observed. Contacts are broken off, hobbies given up, and familiar work processes can no longer be managed. Some of those affected no longer leave their homes or beds. Facial expressions, gestures and voices can lose their expression. Suffering from changing physical complaints and pain, weight loss, noticeable concentration disorders, frequent sick leave and worries about one's own health can also be an indication of depressive symptoms. The attitudes of those affected with regard to the future and their own abilities are increasingly negative and pessimistic, self-doubt, feelings of hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide are expressed (“I will soon be tired of feeling”). Increased preoccupation with the subject of death should also be seen as an alarm signal.
Help to find help The German Society for Suicide Prevention mentions patience and an open conversation with those affected as effective help. The observed changes should be addressed and questioned. Under no circumstances should the worries of those affected (as unrealistic as they appear) be trivialized and dismissed. Death wishes and thoughts of suicide should be taken up and taken seriously. The myth that “real suicides” never talk about their plans beforehand persists, but experience shows that it is not true. If possible, caregivers should be involved. Of course, professional help cannot be replaced by the attention of a colleague, acquaintance, friend or relative. Rather, attention should be drawn carefully to specific offers of help. Sometimes it is necessary to take the first steps, pass on addresses or accompany the person concerned to a support facility for an initial interview. There is a lot of information on depression and suicidality on the Internet, there are forums for exchanging experiences and addresses of self-help groups. Information on the offers of the "German Alliance against Depression e.V." can be found on the "Kompetenznetz Depression" website. and the "Stiftung Deutsche Depressionshilfe" The lists of regional self-help groups and crisis services, which are sorted by zip code, are particularly useful. (jvs, November 19, 2009)
Sources and further help:
- German Alliance against Depression e.V. www.buendnis-depression.de
– Competence Network Depression www.kompetenznetz-depression.de
– German Society for Suicide Prevention - Help in Life Crises e.V.