Suicidal people suffer from inner turmoil that leaves them feeling isolated and hopeless. Many people who struggle with suicidal tendencies fail to seek the help they so desperately need. The majority of suicidal people do not want to die; they just want to stop the pain. Suicide prevention starts with the sufferer recognizing the warning signs and admitting that they have a problem. Family and friends should also pay close attention to these warning signs to ensure the sufferer finds the help they need. Simply talking about suicidal thoughts and feelings can help save a life.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly a million people die each year from suicide. Many people question what drives people to commit suicide. Unfortunately, the answer may not be readily clear for those stuck in the vices of depression and despair. Many factors drive people to feeling hopeless, which leaves sufferers blinded to all other options. Effective treatment does exist that can help prevent sufferers from attempting to take their own lives.
Noticing the Signs
The majority of suicidal individuals give warning signs of their intentions. Friends, family, and coworkers can recognize these warnings signs and respond quickly. Suicidal people will likely respond to those they trust before those they have just met. Therefore, family and friends can play an active role in suicide prevention by showing they care, pointing out the alternatives, and getting a qualified professional involved.
Many suicidal people talk about killing or harming themselves before they attempt it. Pay close attention to what the suicidal person buys, such as guns, knives, pills, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt. Suicidal people may voice their feelings of despair and hopelessness. They may display dramatic mood swings and other sudden personality changes. Dwelling on the past and the future may also lead others to believe that the sufferer may take their own life. A telling sign of suicidal thoughts is withdrawing from others or doing reckless things, such as abusing drugs and alcohol. Seek immediate help if these symptoms or signs appear.
- Symptoms and Danger Signs: Warning Signs of Suicide: Look for these warning signs in a loved one suffering from depression and despair.
- Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide: Sufferers of depression should read over these warning signs to see if they have suicidal tendencies.
- Risk Factors and Warning Signs: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shares the risk factors associated with suicide and what to look for in those suffering from suicidal thoughts.
- Suicide Warning Signs: Seek help if you suffer from any of these symptoms.
- Suicide Prevention: How to Help Someone Who is Suicidal: Look for these warning signs in loved ones you suspect of suffering from suicidal thoughts.
- Know the Signs: Suicide is Preventable: Click on the orange circle to find out about the major warning signs of suicidal tendencies.
- Warning Signs of Suicide: These warning signs should be taken seriously.
- Suicide Warning Signs: Learn How to Recognize the Danger Signals: The American Psychological Association (APA) shares ways to identify danger signals in those suspected of contemplating suicide.
- Teen Suicide Warning Signs: Parents should seek immediate help if their teenagers display these warning signs.
- The Suicide Prevention Action Network of Idaho: Warning Signs of Suicide: Recognizing the warning signs of suicide and seeking immediate help can prevent an attempt.
Precautions You Can Take
Family and friends can prevent sufferers from committing suicide by intervening immediately. Seek help as soon as symptoms or warning signs arise. Talk to the sufferer and ask questions, even if it causes discomfort. It can be difficult to talk to a suicidal person about their problems, but the best way to prevent them from killing themselves or causing themselves harm is to simply ask. Nobody can make a person suicidal by showing empathy. In fact, giving the sufferer an emotional outlet to express themselves may even prevent a suicide attempt.
Start with asking simple questions while disengaging from heated disputes. Suicidal people may put up a front or show symptoms of denial. In these cases, offer ways to fix their problems or give advice even if they get defensive. Give them contact information in case they feel like talking at a later date. Do anything possible to comfort them. Family and friends should also attempt to remove any objects in their possession that could cause the sufferer harm. Offer to contact a qualified medical professional to find a resolution, especially in situations involving an immediate threat of a suicide attempt.
- Coping with Suicidal Thoughts (PDF): Sufferers of suicidal thoughts should read over these suggestions to help cope with their anguish.
- Student Suicide: Could You Be Held Liable? (PDF): Schools should consider prevention strategies to help prevent suicide attempts among their students.
- How You Can Help Prevent Suicide: People who recognize the warning signs and get directly involved can help prevent suicide attempts.
- 7 Essential Steps Parents Can Take to Prevent Teen Suicide: Parents can follow these seven steps to help prevent their teenager from committing suicide.
- Suicide Prevention: A comprehensive guide to recognizing warnings of suicide and ways to respond to prevent attempts from happening.
- What Can I Do to Help Someone Who May Be Suicidal?: Follow this simple approach when the warning signs of suicide appear in someone you know.
- The Role of Co-Workersvin Preventing Suicide in the Workplace (PDF): A comprehensive guide that shares ways for coworkers to get involved in preventing suicide attempts from those in the workplace.
- Suicide: If You Know Someone is Thinking About Suicide: If you suspect someone is having suicidal thoughts, then get involved.
- Prevent 7: Suicide: A website that describes suicide, recognizable warning signs, and strategies that people can use to help prevent it.
What to Do After an Attempt
Suicidal people who survived attempt should carry out certain steps to ensure that it never happens again. Recovery from negative thoughts about killing or harming oneself may feel liberating; however, it may not guarantee prevention of a relapse. Therefore, sufferers should formulate a safety plan to reduce the risk of a future suicide attempt. A safety plan should consist of information that will alert the sufferer of pending suicidal feelings or thoughts, indicators to seek additional treatment, and contact information of a qualified professional in case a relapse does occur. Sufferers should build a support system around them consisting of trustworthy family, friends, health professionals, and other recovering sufferers. One of the most important aspects of recovery is getting back to ordinary living. It may be difficult to get back into the motions of everyday life, but the rewards will come swiftly with persistence.
- Suicide: Frequently Asked Questions: Survivors of suicide attempts should read over these frequently asked question (FAQs) to gain further insight about their condition.
- After An Attempt: The Emotional Impact of a Suicide Attempt on Families (PDF): Sufferers and the loved ones impacted by a suicide attempt should read over this document to help cope with the effects.
- Coping After A Suicide Attempt (PDF): Sufferers should read over the tips listed on this fact sheet to help gain coping skills after a failed suicide attempt.
- Helping a Friend Who Has Lost a Loved One to Suicide: Be the friend who helps comfort another friend who has lost a loved one to suicide.
- Survivors of Suicide: Coping with Suicide in the Campus Community (PDF): A fact sheet about suicide that shares common reactions by those who knew someone who attempted it.
- A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide (PDF): A handbook that helps survivors of suicide to get back onto their feet and move forward on the road to recovery.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: After an Attempt (PDF): A comprehensive guide for family members who wish to take care of their loved one after a failed suicide attempt.
- Left Behind After Suicide: A comprehensive guide for those who lost a loved one to a suicide attempt.
- After a Suicide (PDF): A response toolkit for schools to help students recuperate after a suicide.
- Self Help Tips for Coping with Suicidal Thoughts (PDF): Use these self-help tips to cope with suicidal thoughts even after an initial attempt.
Other Mental Health Resources
- It’s Up to Us: Warning Signs of Suicide: Recognizing the warning signs of depression in times of crisis can help save a life.
- Suicide and Suicidal Thoughts: Symptoms: The Mayo Clinic staff shares a list of symptoms that may appear in those suffering from suicidal thoughts.
- Youth Suicide Prevention Program: Know the Signs: These warning signs may indicate that someone is thinking about suicide.
- Warning Signs of Youth Suicide: Parents should read over the warning signs and tips to ensure they find the help their teenager needs in times of crisis.
- Suicide Prevention Center of New York State: What Are The Warning Signs For Suicide?: Look over these warning signs to see if you or your loved one suffers from suicidal tendencies.
- Suicide Prevention Is Everyone’s Business: 3 Simple Steps to Take (PDF): An informational slide show about suicide, its warning signs, and ways people can prevent it from happening.
- End Teen Suicide: Preventions: Read over the myths and facts about teenage suicide and discover ways to prevent it from happening to those you love.
- Recognizing and Responding to the Warning Signs of Suicide: A Guide for Teachers and School Staff (PDF): An extensive guide for teachers and school staff to recognize and deal with suicidal students.
- What Every Parent Should Know About Preventing Youth Suicide (PDF): A brochure that provides helpful tips for parents looking for ways to prevent suicide among the youth.
- What Physicians Can Do to Prevent Suicide (PDF): An extensive document for physicians looking to prevent suicide among their patients.