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Filed Under: Educational
World Suicide Prevention Day: Signs, Risks, and Resources

World Suicide Prevention Day: Signs, Risks, and Resources

According to Web MD, research suggests that the best way to prevent suicide is to know the risk factors, be alert to the signs of depression and other mental illnesses, recognize the warning signs for suicide, and intervene before it’s too late. Unfortunately, warning signs aren’t always as visible regarding someone in crisis, someone suicidal, or someone depressed. However, there are verbal and physical cues and signs when people are struggling that you should try to be aware of- we mention more on this below. It doesn’t hurt to check in on a friend or family member that may or may not be in crisis mode. You truly never know what someone is going through, so regular check-ins are always a good idea! It can also help ensure that you are here for them every step of the way. Let them know that you are a resource and that you are here for them if they ever need to ask for help.

Moreover, depression and suicide can come hand in hand, but not everyone who has depression has thoughts of suicide. A person can be depressed and not have suicidal thoughts, but usually the darkest parts of depression are linked with suicidal ideation. It is also good to note there is a difference between active and passive suicidal thoughts. A person can have thoughts of suicide and not actively want to commit suicide, and not everyone who has thoughts of suicide wants to act on it. It is crucial to know the difference between when someone is actually ready to end their life, planning to, or just thinking about if life would be better without them.

While we are not mind readers, we should try to be aware of crises or potential crises. Check in regularly with yourself and your friends and family. Talk to them privately, without judgement, and with compassion. Let them know that you are here for them and that there are resources readily available. Even if you or they are not struggling with thoughts of suicide, you don’t want to wait until it is too late. When life starts to get tough, reach out to someone! Although it can be difficult it’s better to be proactive- trust us, this is something we (writer’s of this blog) have been through and are so happy we reached out for help. 

Suicide Statistics: To put this into perspective, why this issue is a national, and even global crisis… According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. In 2019, 47,511 Americans died by suicide. In 2019, there was an estimated 1.38M suicide attempts. These numbers are incredibly alarming and could definitely go down with the right resources, education, and prevention. Unfortunately, not everyone has easy access to some of these services but it is important to know that there are services available- some resources are shared down below! 

Risk Factors:

  • Mental Illnesses/ Mood Disorders 

  • Abuse of drugs/ and or alcohol

  • Previous suicide attempt(s)

  • Family history of suicide

  • History of trauma or abuse

  • Serious or chronic illnesses

  • Recent tragedy or loss

  • Social Isolation

  • Lack of access to behavioral health care

  • stressful life events: rejection, breakups, life transitions, financial crises

Possible Warning Signs:

  • Unusual behavior- extreme mood swings, agitation, anxiety

  • Access to lethal means- firearms, drugs

  • Physical pain- unbearable amount of pain

  • Rage, revenge

  • Changes in sleep patterns- insomnia/ oversleeping

  • Detached from life- social withdrawal 

  • Changes in appetite

  • Weight changes

  • Increase use of drugs/ alcohol- substance abuse

  • Hopelessness

  • loss of interest in life

  • Extreme fatigue

Verbal and Non-Verbal cues/ indicators: 

  • Talking about death

  • Talking about feeling hopeless

  • Mentioning strong feelings of guilt or shame

  • Saying others would be better without them

  • Giving away personal items

  • Saying goodbye randomly to friends and family

  • Talking about feeling like a burden

  • Struggling with “typical” day-to-day life

If you or a friend relate to these signs, cues, and risks, and it is disrupting yours or their daily life please seek medical professional help! You may or may not be experiencing feelings of suicide, but if you or someone you know is struggling it is best to seek help before it is too late. Asking for help is a sign of strength. You are strong, resilient, and not alone. 

Resources: 

The National Suicide Prevention Line: Free and confidential support 24/7 to help people in distress across the United States.

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA): A free confidential information service that provides treatment and support referrals 24/7 to help people facing mental illness and addiction.

1-800-662-Help (4357)

The Trevor Project: Provides free, confidential support 24/7 to LGBTQ youth via a helpline, text and online instant messaging system.

1-866-488-7386

Crisis Textline: Provide free, confidential support via text message 24/7 to those in crisis situations.

Text “Home” to 741741 for support.

National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI): One of the largest mental health organizations. They have support lines as well.

800-950-NAMI

Or Text “NAMI” to 741741

Learn More:  

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/recognizing-suicidal-behavior

https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/

https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/factors/index.html

https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Risk-of-Suicide