Suicide Prevention

If someone you know struggles with depression or thoughts of suicide, please have this phone number, 800-273-TALK, ready to share with him or her, because a representative is always available to talk, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Sadly, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and represents a major source of concern for many individuals and their families. It is important to know the warning signs of potential suicide so that you can help those who are struggling.

Typically, someone who considers suicide an option will talk about wishing he or she could die or wants to kill himself.  These individuals may share their feelings about being trapped with no way out of their situation or talk about how guilty and ashamed they feel about a problem.  In more dangerous scenarios, people might start planning for death, including buying large amounts of pain medication or a gun.  Sometimes, the change you might see in another involves emotional shifts in that suddenly someone who was once normally calm and happy quickly transitions either into rage or silence.

In addition to knowing what signs to watch for, there are certain risk factors involved with suicide prevention.  Individuals who have struggled with chronic pain or have certain medical conditions may be in greater danger for suicide based on their emotional state or family history.  Often, suicide can run in families.  In other instances, people may be motivated by the recent harmful actions of friends or even celebrities.  Understanding how these influences can negatively impact those who struggle with suicide and associated conditions is important for prevention.

To help someone you may think is contemplating suicide, the first step is to engage him or her in conversation and ask a direct question about intentions.  Dialogue about suicide does not create a greater risk for the action, rather, conversation can help prevent.  Next, pay attention to what she or he has to say.  Usually, knowing someone else truly cares can contribute to prevention.  Then, maintain on-going communication with the individual so that he or she knows you are there as a support system.  Lastly, share the Suicide Prevention phone number, 800-273-TALK, so that someone is only a phone call away.

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