September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month —a time to raise awareness of this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. We use this month to shift public perception, spread hope and share vital information to people affected by suicide or suicidal ideation.
If we’re talking statistics, for every suicide death, there are 4 hospitalizations for suicide attempts, 8 ER visits related to suicide attempts, 27 self-reported suicide attempts, And 275 people who are seriously considering suicide.
Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is not a mental illness, but rather the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and usually indicate more serious issues.
Any of these could be potential warning signs for suicide.
Severe sadness or moodiness, long-lasting sadness, mood swings, and unexpected rage. Hopelessness. Feeling a deep sense of hopelessness about the future. Also, Sleep problems. Sudden calmness. Suddenly becoming calm after a period of depression or moodiness can be a very important sign that the person has made a decision to end their life.
Withdrawal. Choosing to be alone and avoiding friends or social activities also are possible symptoms of depression, a leading cause of suicide. This includes the loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed.
Dangerous or self-harmful behavior. Potentially dangerous behavior, such as reckless driving, hurting oneself on purpose, and increased use of drugs or alcohol, might indicate that the person no longer values their life.
Recent trauma or life crisis. A major life crisis might trigger a suicide attempt. Crises include the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, the diagnosis of a major illness, the loss of a job, or serious financial problems.
Threatening or talking about suicide. From 50% to 75% of those considering suicide will give someone – a friend or relative – a warning sign. It may not be an outright threat. They may talk an unusual amount about death or say things like “It would be better if I wasn’t here.”
If someone you know is showing one or more of these behaviors, they may be thinking about suicide. Don’t ignore these warning signs. Get help immediately.