On Your Health

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Signs to Prevent Suicide

15 September 2014

Posted in

by Sara Barry, a licensed behavioral practitioner for INTEGRIS

Nearly one million people worldwide die of suicide each year. That's one life taken every 40 seconds. Knowing the warning signs of someone who is considering suicide can help prevent these unnecessary deaths. Sara Barry, a licensed behavioral practitioner for INTEGRIS offers tips on recognizing the symptoms of someone who is considering suicide, as well as how to talk to someone who you think may be contemplating suicide.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (2855).

Have you or someone you know lost a loved one to suicide? While it is not an easy topic to discuss, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Nearly one million people worldwide die by suicide each year. This means one death by suicide every 40 seconds.

More than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have depression or another diagnosable mental health disorder.

It is important to learn and recognize the warning signs for suicide. The majority of those who contemplate suicide tell someone first. Never take these threats lightly. Warning signs that someone may be thinking about or planning to attempt or complete suicide include:

  • Always talking or thinking about death.
  • Depression, such as deep sadness.
  • Loss of interest in things they once cared about.
  • Trouble sleeping or eating.
  • Or things that get worse instead of better over time.
  • Having a death wish.
  • Tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights.
  • Getting one's affairs in order and or giving away prized possessions.
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless.
  • Saying things like, "it would be better if I wasn't here," or "I want out," or "you won't have to worry about me much longer."
  • They might talk openly about contemplating suicide.

In support of suicide prevention week, please encourage anyone who may be experiencing signs of depression or suicide to get help. If you or someone you know is having thoughts about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. That's 8255. Go to the nearest emergency department or call 911 and request a CIT officer.

The best thing that you can do for someone you're concerned about is to be straightforward and ask them, "are you thinking about suicide?" Often times when people are directly asked the question, they are able to open up and are relived to know that someone cares enough to notice their pain and suffering.

If you're not comfortable asking the question, take them immediately to someone who can, a trusted friend, parent, priest, pastor, teacher, coach, counselor. Or call 1-800-273-TALK which is available 24/7.

You do not have to be a counselor or therapist to save the life of someone contemplating suicide. You just have to be someone who cares enough to ask the question, and then be willing to get them to a mental health professional who is trained in how to help.

To take a free and anonymous mental health screening, and for information and resources including free videos and podcasts from Dr. R. Murali Krishna, please visit INTEGRIS Mental Health.