Hanging By A Thread: Tips for Suicide Prevention

The United States Congress designated National Survivors of Suicide Day as a day when families and friends of suicide victims join together for collective support and healing. National Survivors of Suicide Day falls on November 19th this year.

Various organizations have dedicated time and resources for suicide awareness, as well as suicide prevention. Studies show if someone intervenes soon enough, suicide can be averted.

One of the underlying reasons for suicide is depression. When a person is depressed, they are “in a state of general unhappiness or despondency.” However, the signs of depression are not always visible. People have a way of disguising and internalizing their despair.

Here are some warning signs of suicidal ideation (or suicidal thoughts).

  1. A preoccupation with death and/or dying. If you notice someone becoming increasingly concerned with death, monitor them closely. Talks of “when I’m gone,” or “I’m going to kill myself,” should not be ignored. These are cries for help.

  2. Giving away cherished belongings. When the possessions someone treasures begin to disappear, or if they try to give items to you, ask questions. No one gives away things with sentimental attachments, unless they are preparing for a time when they will no longer be here. Get to the bottom of why these items are no longer important to them.

  3. Decreased social activities. If someone suddenly starts to shy away from social events, or their amount of social contact decreases, check up on them. When overcome with feelings of depression, people tend to distance themselves from others. Don’t allow friends and family to wallow in self-pity. Help pull them back into a comforting, supportive existence.

  4. Increased risky behavior. Similar to sexual abuse victims, those who suffer with suicidal ideation are prone to risky behavior. The more dangerous, the better. In their minds, the best thing that can happen is they lose their life. Don’t allow this to occur. Step in, and seek help for them.

  5. Enhanced drug and/or alcohol use. Drug and alcohol exploration is one of the most visible warning signs. If someone is abusing drugs and alcohol with little or no concern about their health or well-being, or if they are displaying dangerous or irrational behavior due to substance abuse, this, too, is a cry for help. Offer them assistance to kick the habit, or put them in touch with organizations that will.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Things may appear bleak in the moment, but circumstances change rapidly. Even though someone may feel a lot of pain, they have to place distance between the emotional and the physical. Erratic or spontaneous behavior is dangerous.

If you experience suicidal thoughts, and reach out to someone who doesn’t understand the severity of your situation, tell someone else. You can also call a suicide crisis helpline. Don’t let one oversight stop you from finding someone who can help.

Make a toll-free call to a 24-hour hotline today. Your call is confidential.

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

  • The National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

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