Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.
In the United States, suicide is disturbingly among the leading causes of death. In 2018 alone, there were an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts and 48,344 deaths.
Suicide is tragic not only for the one whose life is cut short, but also for family members and friends left behind after a death. Knowing the warning signs and ways you can help is a start in keeping your loved ones safe.
Common suicide warning signs
There’s no single cause for suicide. Conditions like depression, anxiety, substance problems, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, losing a loved one, financial burdens, even physical illness can all increase the risk for suicide. The overriding symptom is hopelessness. People see no light at the end of the tunnel.
However, there are common warning signs to look out for:
- Talking about wanting to die or killing oneself
- Feeling like there is no reason to live
- Being in unbearable pain
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Giving away possessions
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
Talking to a loved one about suicide
Talking to a friend or family member about suicidal thoughts can be difficult. First and foremost, it important to give the person a chance to express their negative feelings as it might be able to provide some relief. Don’t judge what they have to say.
Try starting the conversation with, “I have been worried about you lately and have noticed some changes in your behavior; you don’t seem like yourself lately. Is something bothering you?”
Other questions you can ask are:
- When did you begin feeling like this?
- What happened that made you start feeling this way?
- How can I best support you right now?
- Have you thought about getting help?
When a crisis hits, you don’t always have time to do your research or react. If you or a loved one needs to talk to someone about suicide right away, call our behavioral health crisis line at 833-347-5544.
Learn about behavioral health services we offer at Mercy Health.