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How to Recognize the Signs Someone is Suicidal
There are not many topics that provoke as much fear and anxiousness than that of suicide.
When you hear people talking about someone who committed suicide or you are aware of someone who is showing signs of suicide, it can leave you with feelings of heartache and sadness, and also with fear.
Unfortunately, we can’t let fear and sadness keep us from being aware; especially if a friend or family member is suffering from this mental ‘condition’.
I lost my 31-year-old son to suicide 6 years ago. I never saw the signs but in retrospect, they were all there.
It is a very real, terrible reality. And there are actions that need to be engaged in, acted on, the second you suspect suicide is on the table.
It might not be us who deals with a person who is suicidal, but if it is, we need to be a shoulder to lean on, to calmly listen; these are just the basic steps to restore hope to the hopeless.
What Is Suicide?
Suicide is the killing of one’s own physical body; it is the intentional ending of one’s life.
At one time, suicide was referred to as “self-murder”. Most people who commit suicide usually tell someone of their plans; they give some kind of warning sign.
People today are filled with lost hope and despair, so it stands to reason that over 800,000 people in the USA attempt suicide every year.
Usually friends, family, and work colleagues can spot the warning signs and many times, they feel helpless as to how to deal with someone who is deeply depressed and suicidal.
There is hope in that it is a treatable mental disorder. These may be some signs and feelings that get voiced that can signify that someone is suicidal and depressed – they need help. Don’t ignore them.
- “I’m of no use to anybody”
- Life just isn’t worth living
- Everyone would just be better off without me
- Next time, I’ll do a proper job
- You can have my car or my house when I’m gone
- Don’t worry; I won’t be around anymore
- You’ll be sorry when I’m no longer here
- Don’t worry; I won’t be in your way for much longer
- I’m just a burden to you
- I can’t make things better
- I’m just better off dead
- Nobody understands me. Nobody cares or feels the way I do
- There’s no way out for me
- You’re just better off without me
- I’m so tired of life
- I can’t take the struggle anymore
How do you recognize this serious sadness and depression?
Signs that someone is suicidal:
- The person is in a sad, depressed kind of mood – got the blues
- They can’t sleep properly, either sleeping too little or too much
- Their weight and appetite have changed
- They move and speak with a kind of slowness or unusual speed
- Have lost interest in their usual activities that used to give them pleasure
- Withdrawn from friends and family
- Lost their energy, drive, and spark
- Struggle to think and concentrate, they are indecisive
- Suffer from feelings of guilt, self-reproach or worthlessness
- They think of death and wish to be dead
- Often times they stop caring about their physical appearance
These aren’t people who are just going through a rough patch. These are people who suffer for weeks and months on end. These are people in crisis.
Sometimes the clues are so subtle that they are easy to miss or misinterpret.
Age has nothing to do with thoughts of suicide. Children, teens, adults, and the elderly all may be at risk.
You need to find out from the person who is suicidal why they are thinking that way; you need to be direct, being supportive and non-judgmental.
If you believe they are in danger, stay with them if you can; don’t leave a suicidal person on their own.
You need to call 911 or contact a crisis hotline, and you need to contact their friends or family. This is not a matter to keep secret; it is not up to you to try and keep the suicidal person safe on your own.
If they are not seeing a mental therapist or counselor, perhaps you can arrange for the person to see a counselor. If they are attending counseling already, you need to make the counselor aware of the situation.
Help Create a Happy Ending
By doing something, when you know your friend or family member is suicidal; you will be part of a chapter in someone’s life who will be able to say their story did not have a sad ending.
Regret is one of the hardest things to live with after someone you love takes their own life.