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It’s never too early to understand suicide prevention
Katrina Thomas

It’s never too early to understand suicide prevention

Spot the Signs

Information & Resources supplied by Movember

For each man who takes his own life, over one hundred people around him are directly impacted. So we can play a part: check in on your mates if and when signs of poor mental health appear.

  • Do you have a friend who's been avoiding social situations?
  • Gone MIA on social media?
  • Getting easily frustrated?
  • Or just generally acting out of character?

It may be a sign they are struggling. Changes in behaviour can be a sign of poor mental health. If you spot a friend whose behaviour is out of character, that’s your sign to check in with them.

How to spot the signs

Signs that someone could be in distress might include:

  • Not sleeping
  • Eating less or more than usual
  • Forgetting grooming (no clean clothes, not showering or brushing teeth)
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Missing social or sports events
  • Going quiet on social media or messaging apps
  • Being more irritable than usual
  • Talking of death and dying or increased hopelessness

If you spot a friend whose behaviour is out of character, it's important to check in with them - it might just save their life.

How to check in with your friends

Asking, listening and being there for your friends can be lifesaving. In four steps, ALEC helps you navigate a conversation with someone who might be struggling. Ask, listen, encourage action and check in — it's that simple.

Huge thanks to R U OK? for developing the ALEC model.

A - ASK

Start by asking how they’re feeling. It’s worth mentioning any changes you’ve picked up on: have they stopped replying to texts? Do they sound different on the phone? Have they gone quiet in the group chat?

Use a prompt like, "You haven’t seemed yourself lately – are you feeling OK?”

Trust your instinct. Remember, people often say "I'm fine" when they’re not, so don't be afraid to ask twice.

L - LISTEN

Give them your full attention. Let them know you’re hearing what they’re saying and you’re not judging. You don’t have to diagnose problems or offer solutions, but asking questions lets them know you’re listening.

Ask a question like: "That can't be easy – how long have you felt this way?"

E - ENCOURAGE ACTION

Help them focus on simple things that might improve how they feel. Are they getting enough sleep? Are they exercising and eating well? Maybe there’s something that’s helped them in the past – it’s worth asking.

Suggest that they share how they’re feeling with others they trust. This will make things easier for both of you. And if they’ve felt low for more than two weeks, suggest they chat to their doctor.

C - CHECK IN

Follow up your conversation with a phone call or FaceTime. This helps to show that you care; plus, you’ll get a feel for whether they’re feeling any better.

If you want to chat to someone about any of this, then this, call us now on 0800 787 254

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