Warning Signs

There is no typical suicide victim. It happens to young and old, rich and poor. Fortunately there are some common warning signs which, when acted upon, can save lives. Here are some to look for:

  • Isolation; withdrawing from family or friends
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Depressed, sad, angry, aggressive
  • Job or financial loss
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Self-mutilation (i.e., cutting)
  • Loss of interest in activities/hobbies
  • Perfectionism or overly self-critical

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Need help? There’s resources available,

Urgent Warning Signs

  • Puts one’s affairs in order — giving away possessions
  • Talking, writing or hinting about suicide
  • Lethargy, apathy or sadness
  • Extreme changes in behavior
  • Hopelessness or helplessness
  • Relationship breakup
  • Buys gun or weapon or stock piles drugs
  • Suddenly happier and calmer — giving the impression that things have improved

Protective Factors

Strategies that can help in time of need

Family or friends or community

Time in Nature, Experiencing beauty

Good Nutrition

Rest and Relaxation, conversely interesting and challenging work

Volunteering

Positive self-esteem

Sobriety

Sense of hope

Treatment availability

Pet(s)

Calm environment

Good health

Medication compliance

Counselor or Therapist

Responsibility for children

Duty to others

Job security

Music or Art Therapy

Non Judgmental Conversation

Difficult access to lethal means (i.e; gun, pills, etc)

Risk Factors

Personal Events can trigger a crisis.

Barriers to accessing mental health treatment

Major illness

Isolation

Previous suicide attempts

Untreated depression, hopelessness, helplessness

Job or Financial loss, personal security

Relationship breakup

Significant others who have completed suicide

Access to lethal means (i.e; guns, pills, etc)

Family disruption

Sexual, mental or physical abuse

Myths and Stigmas

“People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.”

NOT TRUE

Almost everyone who takes their own life or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

“Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.”

NOT TRUE

Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken,depressed or despairing. Extreme distress and emotional pain are always signs of mental illness but are not signs of psychosis.

“If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.”

NOT TRUE

Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, and most waiver until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to end their pain. Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

“People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.”

NOT TRUE

Studies of adult suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help within six months before their death and a majority had seen a medical professional within 1 month of their death.

“Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.”

NOT TRUE

You don’t give a suicidal person ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true – bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

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