How can we prevent suicide?
The answer is not as hard as we think, yet most of us are afraid of the topic of suicide itself. Being afraid tends to keep us from learning how to help someone that may be at high risk for ending their life by suicide. In this article we want to help remove the fear to help prevent suicide in our families and community.
Many people are afraid of discussing suicide, because they believe they might place the thought that causes someone to end their life by suicide. Lots and lots of research worldwide, plus our professional experience, says that belief is false. We don’t need to be afraid of asking someone if they have been thinking about ending their life. In fact, the very opposite is true, by asking and caring in a non-judgmental manner, suicide can be prevented.
We know that knowledge can help alleviate fear which is why we want to share the following information with you. Please do not be afraid of discussing suicide openly with friends or family, by doing so you may save a life!
The following are typical warning signs:
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated, behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
The above warning signs can show up out of the blue and are unusual behaviors for that person.
If anyone you know exhibits some of these behaviors, you can help. Even though you may be afraid to ask, you don’t have to worry about causing harm. If your friend or family member tells you they have been thinking about suicide and have a plan, talk to them and encourage them to get professional help.
If your friend or family member tells you they intend to carry out their plan, encourage them to go to the hospital or at least call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. If you believe your friend or family member is about to end their life by suicide, call 911 if they won’t go to the hospital.