Be aware of the warning signs! Are you or someone you love at risk of suicide? Get the facts and take action!
Get help immediately by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-8255 for a referral should you witness, hear, or see anyone exhibiting any one or more of the following:
- Someone threatening to hurt or kill him/herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself.
- Someone looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means.
- Someone talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of ordinary for the person.
Seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-8255 for a referral should you witness, hear, or see anyone exhibiting any one or more of the following:
- Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
- Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family and society
- Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Dramatic mood changes
- No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
Be aware of the facts!
- Suicide is preventable. Most suicidal individuals desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.
- Most suicidal individuals give definite warnings of their suicidal intentions, but others are either unaware of the significance of these warnings or do not know how to respond to them.
- Talking about suicide does not cause someone to be suicidal.
- Approximately 32,000 Americans kill themselves every year. The number of suicide attempts is much greater and often results in serious injury.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15-24, and it is the 8th leading cause of death among all persons.
- Youth (15-24) suicide rates increased more than 200% from the 1950′s to the late 1970′s. Following the late 1970′s, the rates for youth suicide have remained stable.
- The suicide rate is higher among the elderly (over 65) than any other age group.
- Four times as many men kill themselves compared to women, yet three times as many women attempt suicide as compared to men.
- Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social, and ethnic boundaries.
- Firearms are currently the most utilized method of suicide by essentially all groups (male, female, young, old, non-white, white).
- Surviving family members not only suffer the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide, and may themselves be at higher risk for suicide and emotional problems.
Ways to be helpful to someone who is threatening suicide:
- Be aware. Learn the warning signs.
- Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
- Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide.
- Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.
- Be willing to listen. Allow for expression of feelings. Accept the feelings.
- Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
- Don’t dare him/her to do it.
- Don’t give advice by making decisions for someone else or tell them to behave differently.
- Don’t ask ‘why.’ This encourages defensiveness.
- Offer empathy, not sympathy.
- Don’t act shocked or react negatively. This creates distance.
- Dont’ be sworn to secrecy. Seek Support.
- Offer hope that alternatives are available, do not offer glib reassurance; it only proves you don’t understand.
- Take action! Remove means! Get help from individuals or agencies specialize in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
Be Aware of Feelings, Thoughts, and Behaviors
Nearly everyone at some time in his or her life thinks aboutsuicide. Most everyone decides to live because they come to realize that the crisis is temporary and death is not. On the other hand, people in the midst of a crisis often perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. Frequently, they:
- Can’t stop the pain
- Can’t think clearly
- Can’t make decisions
- Can’t see any way out
- Can’t sleep, eat or work
- Can’t get out of the depression
- Can’t make the sadness go away
- Can’t see the possibility of change
- Can’t see themselves as worthwhile
- Can’t get someone’s attention
- Can’t see to get control
TALK TO SOMEONE, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
- A community mental health agency like Apex Behavioral Health
- A school counselor or psychologsit
- A suicide prevention/crisis intervention center
- A private therapist
- A family physician
- A religious/spiritual leader
National Phone Numbers
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-7600
National Mental Health Association 703-684-7722
Local Phone Numbers
Wayne County 313-224-7000
Washtenaw County 734-936-5900
Oakland County 248-456-0909
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you need to know that you are not alone. By some estimates, as many as 1 in 6 people will become seriously suicidal at some point in their lives. Fortunately, most people do not on their suicidal thoughts – crises pass and problems are solved. However, sometimes thoughts lead to self harm.
Suicide thinking is usually associated with problems that CAN be treated. Clinical depression, anxiety disorders, chemical dependency, and other disorders produce profound emotional distress. They also interfere with effective problem-solving. New treatments are available and studies show that the vast majority of people who receive treatment improve or recover completely.
Even if you have received treatment before, you need to know that different treatments work better for different people in different situations. Sometimes several tries are needed before the right combination is found.
If you are unable to think of solutions other than suicide, it’s not that solutions don’t exist, only that you are unable to see them. Therapists and counselors can help you to see solutions that are otherwise not apparent to you.
Suicidal crises are almost always temporary, it’s important to realize that crises are usually time-limited. Solutions are found, feelings change, unexpected positive events occur. Suicide is sometimes referred to as “a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Don’t let suicide rob you of better times that will come your way when you allow more time to pass.
Problems are seldom as great as they appear at first glance; job loss, financial problems, loss of important people in our lives, all are stressful events that can seem catastrophic at the time they occur. Then, months or years later, they usually look smaller and more manageable. Sometimes, imagining ourselves five years later can help us to see that a problem will pass and we will survive.
Reasons for living can help sustain a person in pain. A famous psychologist once conducted a study of Nazi concentration camp survivors and fount that those who survived almost always reported strong beliefs about what was important in life. You, too, might be able to strengthen your connection with life if you consider what has sustained you through hard times in the past. Family ties, religion, love of art or nature, and dreams for the future are just as few of the many aspects of life that provide meaning and gratification; facts that you can lose sight of due to emotional distress.
Don’t keep suicidal thoughts to yourself! Help is available, whether through a friend, family member, therapist, or member of the clergy. Find someone you trust and let them know how bad things are. This can be your first step on the road to healing.
American Association of Suicidology
5221 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20015