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Suicide Prevention - Canton of Zurich

Noticing that someone in your own environment is in a deep crisis and is thinking of suicide creates fear and usually triggers insecurity: What do these thoughts mean? How can I help?

Thoughts of suicide are a common response to high levels of psychological stress

When people are exposed to high levels of suffering over a long period of time and go through deep mental crises, thoughts sometimes arise like: "What is it worth living for?", "I can no longer stand it!" to be there more. "," If it weren't for me, everyone would be better off. " Most people with suicidal thoughts do not want to die. They are looking for a way out of the agonizing state that they can no longer endure. Ending your own life seems to be the (only) possible solution. This is a normal human response to great suffering.

The frequency and intensity of suicidal ideation can vary widely

Thoughts of suicide are not always equally strong and threatening. The figure below can clarify this: In the people affected, suicidal thoughts - sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker - force their way into consciousness. At the same time, you can counter these thoughts or push them aside. So you have resistance to suicidal ideation. Depending on the life situation, thoughts of suicide appear only occasionally or they are frequent and urgent.

Many life events can give rise to thoughts of suicide

The reasons for life crises with thoughts of suicide are different for every person. Thoughts of suicide are very often preceded by a long path of suffering. Many things have already been tried to improve the stress situation, but none of them brought any relief or hardly any relief. Sometimes thoughts of suicide also arise acutely after a decisive life event without the person having been stressed for a long time (e.g. loss of job, loss of a loved one, etc.).

Common and treatable cause: depression

In many cases, thoughts of suicide are related to depression or other mental illness. Mental illnesses are often treatable, and in many cases also curable. It is important to get professional help. As a rule, psychotherapy or a combination of psychotherapy and medication leads to a significant improvement and a decrease in suicidal ideation. It is therefore important to get professional help. (Addresses, see here).

Even seemingly small things can trigger a suicide attempt

Great pain and unbearable suffering severely restrict thinking and acting. A raging headache or stomach ache is not a good cope with problems. This also applies when the soul hurts. Those affected can often hardly think clearly and are therefore severely limited in their options for action and problem-solving. They get a kind of tunnel vision and therefore think in the acute crisis that suicide is the only solution to their problems. Their suffering prevents them from finding ways out of the crisis and from making contact with people who could support them. It can happen that even apparently small incidents trigger a suicide attempt. Just like a single drop can make a full barrel overflow.

Take warning signs seriously

Because suicide attempts are not infrequently made for apparently trivial reasons, it is important to notice warning signs in good time and to react immediately. Here are some tips on what to do if you think someone around you is suicidal. Not all people with thoughts of suicide “send” warning signs. So trust your gut instinct and speak to your counterpart (see also tips for a conversation).

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Prevention and health promotion in the Canton of Zurich
A department of the Institute for Epidemiology,
Biostatistics and prevention from the University of Zurich
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8001 Zurich

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