Warning Signs of Suicide

Elderly Man Contemplating SmallerSeptember is National Suicide Prevention Month. Each year, suicide takes the lives of over 34,000 Americans. There is one death by suicide every 13 minutes. Males are four times more likely to take their own lives than females. Suicide increases with age, and is highest among white men age 65 and older. In 2013, 18.6% of suicides occurred in those 85 and older. This was the second highest number of suicides by age group, with those 45 to 65 the highest.

While these statistics are staggering, there is hope. Eighty to 90% of Americans who seek treatment for major depression are treated successfully with therapy and/or medication.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers these signs to be aware of if someone is contemplating suicide. If you notice any of these in someone you know or love, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

  • Threats or comments about killing themselves, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like “I wish I weren’t here,” but can become more overt and dangerous
  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Talking, writing or thinking about death Impulsive or reckless behavior

Actions that are considered high risk and should seek care immediately are:

  • Putting their affairs in order and giving away their possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Mood shifts from despair to calm
  • Planning, possibly by looking around to buy, steal or borrow the tools they need to commit suicide, such as a firearm or prescription medication

If you have concerns, please seek the help of a licensed mental health professional or call 911 immediately.

 

Sources:

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Risk-of-Suicide#sthash.NSgNualk.dpuf

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/statistics/index.html

http://www.cigna.com/healthwellness/hw/medical-topics/warning-signs-of-suicide-in-older-adults-aa45669

 

 

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