Did You Know That Suicide Is The Number One Preventable Death?
Yes it is! Unlike deaths resulting from medical illnesses, suicide can be prevented with appropriate mental health support and advocacy.
What Are Some Common Myths About Suicide?
Only people with mental health conditions consider or commit suicide
False. Over half the people (54%) who died of suicide did not have a known mental health condition.
People – teens especially – are too overdramatic about their problems.
False. Stress and trauma affect individuals in different ways and so what we might consider being an over-exaggeration or overstatement of a problem might be something that is absolutely crippling and impossible to overcome for another.
Suicides are mostly committed by uneducated teens or adults who live in poverty
False. Suicides mostly occur in middle to older-age caucasian men who have obtained the highest degree of education.
“If they’re talking about it, they aren’t going to do it”
75% of those who commit suicide mention their plans or state of mind regarding suicide
What Are Some Early Signs Of Suicidal Thoughts:
Change in eating habits – eating far more or far less than usual
Change in sleeping habits – sleeping too little or too much
Withdrawal from friend and families and extracurricular activities
Heavy or increased use of alcohol or drugs
Statement of harm to themselves
Statement of the desire to “get revenge”
Statement of a plan to commit suicide
Giving away personal belongings
Impulsive or reckless behavior
Talks of/or making final plans official such as making a will, paying off debts or suggesting future roles for people close to them
Increase in mood swings (depression, anxiety and anger)
Feelings or talks of being a burden to others
Relief/sudden improvement from recent behavior – this may indicate that the person feels relief after making a final plan and feels more at peace with their decision
Humiliation or shame
Who Can Help A Person Thinking Of Suicide?
Anyone can help someone who is considering suicide. While speaking to a licensed therapist is the best option, however, there are a number of professionals in the medical and law enforcement field that are equipped to provide first response to someone in crisis. Depending on the circumstances, the at-risk individual may also want to talk only to close friends or family or might only want to discuss their feelings with someone completely uninvolved. Nonetheless, it is essential that the person in crisis feels safe to empower to share their deepest painful feelings.
Emergency rooms, hospitals, mental health care facilities, and other trained professionals can also utilize resources to screen for suicidal risks or behavior when treating a patient. Using screenings in the emergency room to detect suicidal behavior or thoughts nearly doubled the number of patients referred for psychotherapy in 2017. Trained professionals are there to help de-escalate crises and set up a road to recovery for someone thinking of suicide.
What Do I Do If I Know Someone Is Contemplating Suicide?
If you think someone might be suicidal, listen to their thoughts, feelings, and stories without judgment. It is best to avoid offering advice or trivializing their problems. If you’re able, try to remove anything potentially lethal from their grasp (pills, weapons, etc.). Ask them honest questions such as if they’re having suicidal thoughts or if they’ve put a plan into place. If someone you suspect might be suicidal admits to having suicidal thoughts or a course of action, try to get them to go with you to a medical health facility or the emergency room. You could also sit beside them and assist them in calling or texting the below-referenced resources. Stay with them as long as possible or attempt to get another trusted contact to replace you. Make the individual feel supported and cared for, even if you do not know them well.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Text TALK to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7
What Will Happen To An Identified Person Who Has Suicidal Thoughts or Plan?
There are so many resources available for a person who is having a mental health crisis such as suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Our society has evolved far from insane asylums and labels that would otherwise be harmful to a person attempting to recover from being suicidal. Though the stigma still remains, we are working hard to demonstrate all of the available resources available to someone considering suicide or having a mental health crisis and hopefully save lives.
What Are The Methods For Treatment Of Clients With Suicidal Thoughts?
As with nearly anything regarding mental health or illness, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to therapy, particularly with a suicidal patient. Thankfully, there are various resources available to patients having suicidal thoughts or plans and they vary in degrees of intensity and depth.
Brief Interventions can include making a safety plan to keep the individual safe and remove anything harmful such as weapons, stockpiled pills or illegal substances from their reach. A brief intervention could also include follow up phone calls to engender feelings of being supported and helps to remind them they are cared for and that their life has meaning and value.
Medication might be necessary to treat the underlying or unidentified causes behind the suicidal thoughts. Remember, mental health conditions are biological in nature and so medication aims to relieve the imbalance in the brain – medication is most often not an unnecessary or unnatural therapy technique.
There is always hope- suicide is never the answer. Whatever your beliefs about the value of human life, the afterlife, religious or cultural beliefs or simply the magnitude of life’s current problems, there is still hope for a happy future for yourself or anyone thinking of suicide.
Suicide is absolutely a permanent, final solution to what could be a very temporary problem(s). Remember that your life is far more valuable than you think and with the right resources, your mental and physical well-being could be drastically improved.
Resources & Further Reading
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Breaking-Taboo.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Mental Health
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Suicide Prevention Resource Center