Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. Up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt. In America, the statistics are worse — someone dies from suicide every 13 seconds.
What are the warning signs of suicide and how can we help those who are thinking about suicide?
Here are some warning signs of suicide, though often there are no signs.
- Speaking about wanting to die, or wishing they were dead
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
- Feeling alone or like a burden to others
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Becoming more socially withdrawn
- Losing interest in hobbies and activities that were once pleasurable
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24/7 and it is for everyone. Call if you are concerned about yourself or another person. 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Or go to their website for more information or to chat, www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. For Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.
What should you do if someone tells you they are thinking of suicide? The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention suggests:
- Let them know you are there to listen.
- Encourage them to share what they are feeling.
- Let them know that people sometimes feel like there is no answer, but that treatment can help them to feel better.
- Tell them you will support them to find help.
- Ask if they have a specific suicide plan. If they do, do not leave them alone, and take away any firearms, drugs, or objects they could use to hurt themselves.
- Take them to a doctor, mental health professional, or hospital emergency room, or call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for help.
Information in this blog was provided by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Mental Health Association of NYC, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. For more information on suicide, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).