Dr Natasha Bijlani, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital Roehampton, examines the link between mental illness and suicide, and discusses what help is available.
According to the Mental Health Foundation around 90% of suicide victims have mental health conditions. And those at highest risk of suicide are living with alcohol addiction, depression or schizophrenia.
What does depression look and feel like?
Common signs that you’re becoming depressed are that your concentration isn’t as good as it was, you’re enjoying life less, you lose your appetite, you’re not sleeping as well, or you want to sleep all the time. It’s easy not to notice the signs creeping up on you, and it may take someone close to you to realise that you are experiencing depression.
How can you get help if you’re depressed?
First off you need to recognise you are far from alone. 1 in 6 adults, and 1 in 10 young people experience depression. Depression doesn’t discriminate so don’t pay attention to anyone who says you shouldn’t feel depressed because you’re successful, or you have a beautiful family.
Depression is very treatable. There are many different kinds of help available, including therapy and medication. So please don’t struggle – seek help right away. Tell your family or a close friend. Go see your GP or call one of the helplines run by Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, or the Samaritans.
If you’re concerned about someone...
If you think someone you care about may be depressed, look out for the common signs mentioned above. If you recognise them in your friend or loved one, encourage them to seek help. If someone you know is talking about committing suicide, or has been harming themselves, then you need to look for help straight away. Contact the helplines mentioned above, ask for an urgent GP appointment, or go straight to the A&E department at your nearest hospital. Suicidal feelings are often temporary, and the right help and support can help reduce the risk of suicide happening.
If you’re experiencing depression, or you’re worried about someone you care about, and would like to speak to someone confidentially about the help Priory can provide, please call us on 0845 277 4679 or use the live chat service button at the top left of the screen.