In the United States, more than 80 million people struggle with mental illness, substance abuse or both, which puts them at a high risk for suicide. More than 30,000 Americans kill themselves every year. Worldwide, there are about 1 million suicides every year. Suicide is ranked in the top 10 eading causes of death in the United States. Continue reading to learn how to notice the signs, precautions that can be taken, and what to do after an attempted suicide. Should you or someone you know be having suicidal thoughts, please seek help. as there is help available.
- World Health Organization – Each year, about 1 million people worldwide die from suicide. The global suicide rates have increased by 65 percent over a 45-year time span. In Europe and North America, the main cause of suicide is linked to alcohol abuse and depression, whereas in Asia the main cause is impulsiveness.
Noticing the Signs
There may be warning signs of suicide. By noticing these signs early, you can take precautions to save your own life or the life of someone you love. Depression and substance abuse play a major role for those who commit suicide. If there are any drastic changes in a person’s behaviors or mood, it could be an indication that something is wrong. A person may suddenly stop caring about the things and activities they once loved. They may become detached and may participate in self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse. A suicidal person may feel hopeless or helpless. They may talk about suicide indirectly or even directly. If you notice any of the signs you should voice your concern. This can help prevent unhealthy situations that could escalate to an attempted suicide. Recognizing the signs can save a life.
- Noticing the Signs – Learn the phrases you may hear, events that may occur, and what you may observe that can help you in determining whether a friend or family member is suicidal.
Precautions You Can Take
Knowing the signs to watch for is the first in preventive measures. People who are having suicidal thoughts need someone who will listen. They need someone to talk to about how they are feeling who will understand and not be judgmental. Avoid making comments that dismiss the person such as “you wouldn’t do that” or “life isn’t that bad.” Do not fear asking direct questions to the person you think may be suicidal. Take the things they say very seriously. If they are planning on committing suicide, do not leave them by themselves and seek professional help immediately. Offer alternative ways to find a resolution. You can provide them with numbers to hotlines, help them find support groups or offer to take them to any appointments. Stay in contact with the person by checking up on them.
- Understanding and Helping the Suicidal Individual – This resource provides more information on being aware of signs, suicide facts and ways you can be helpful.
What to Do After an Attempt
If someone has attempted suicide and was unsuccessful with their attempt, there is a high probability that they will try again. If you or someone you know has attempted to cause personal harm, immediately call local emergency personnel or 911. Other options include suicide hotline numbers where you can talk with trained counselors. In the United States, 800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For anyone outside of the United States, visit BeFrienders.org and find hotlines based on the country where you live. Anyone who has attempted suicide should seek long-term therapy and medical care. Group therapy can be helpful as well as support from friends and family.
- American Association of Suicidology – This website provides valuable information for professionals, individuals with suicidal tendencies, and coping advice for families.
- The Anatomy of a Youngster’s Suicide – Attempts at suicide have few boundaries as far as age and this article will help you understand why a child or teenager may be attempting to take their own life.