Many of us are going through emotional turmoil during this period of uncertainty. Even so, the topic of mental health which has been under the spotlight for decades, is still deemed difficult for many to discuss.
Hospital Fatimah hosted an online talk touching on suicide prevention with the Chairperson of Befrienders Ipoh Mabel Wong as the speaker.
People respond to emotional distress very differently; some just need some time out, whereas to others, it can get overwhelming. “If something is troubling you, get it out of the system. It is completely healthy to rant and cry, and when you are done with it, move on—which is also known as emotional bouncing. When you can’t think straight, you can’t see things clearly,” Mabel said.
When one is feeling down or emotionally unstable, they tend to repel their problems and often turn to ‘solutions’ that will lead to detrimental consequences. “Some people don’t have the skill or support to cope with the feeling or the pain.
“Resorting to physical harm is never a choice; they feel helpless and hopeless and at that mere moment, want to get rid of the pain. Suicide is not about wanting to die, they just want to disappear and be free of pain. Especially in this time of the pandemic, many are losing businesses, livelihoods and are unable to provide for the family.
“This painful experience will lead them to feel dejected and vulnerable. However, suicide is preventable; we need to catch the warning signs. You can tell by the way they behave such as withdrawal from people, having insomnia, drastic mood swings or communicating ideation (such as mentioning “I am a burden to people”),” she highlighted.
How do we help as an organisation or a layman?
Mabel said one can help by simply asking “How are you doing?” to show that they care and are there for the person struggling. One has to go beyond the stigma of talking about suicide. People often have groundless myths that talking about suicide will plant the idea, but it’s untrue because if the problem is there, it is there, and if it’s not, it’s not.
“Mental health issues or mental illnesses are never spoken about, especially in our culture. Suppressing the problems doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Encourage them to seek help and put the problem to bed altogether.”
You open the door for the person to open up and make it easier for them to share their feelings when you are willing to lend an ear and listen to their struggles without judging their vulnerabilities.
“Never give toxic positivity, such as “Stay tough, you are stronger than this”, because all they need is someone to truly listen to them. Emotional turmoil doesn’t just disappear; if you find yourself struggling, reach out to people and talk about it,” she added.
Learn to control your emotions and don’t stress about things beyond your ability to solve or that are out of your control as it will only add on to the angst and frustration. Call Befrienders if you require someone to listen to.
Befrienders Ipoh acts as an outlet for individuals who need someone to listen to their troubles. Befrienders offers emotional support to anyone who needs to share their feelings without fear, criticism or judgement.
Befrienders Ipoh is also currently looking for hotline volunteers. Anyone interested can visit their Facebook for more information.