Suicide Prevention Week

Suicide Prevention Week

This week is Suicide Prevention Week. Below we have laid out some warning signs to be on the lookout for amongst your friends and family, and some steps to take if you or a loved is struggling with thoughts of self-harm.

Recent high profile suicides are bringing increased attention to an unfortunately all-too-common occurrence. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States; in 2016 nearly 45,000 people committed suicide in the U.S. Suicide rates are on the rise in nearly every state in 2017. It is critically important that we work together as a society on every level to make changes and stem the tide.

Warning Signs

You may be wondering how to know if someone close to you is contemplating suicide or is at risk. Here are some common warning signs to look out for from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

Talk. If a person talks about:

  • Killing themselves
  • Feeling hopeless, trapped, or like a burden
  • Having no reason to live
  • Experiencing unbearable pain

Behaviors that may signal risk of suicide include:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for ways to end their life, like by searching online
  • Withdrawing from activities or isolating from friends and family
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Giving away possessions
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Anger, aggression, or rage
  • Recklessness

Mood. People who are considering suicide often experience one more of the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest
  • Irritability
  • Shame or humilation
  • Agitation or anger
  • Relief or a sudden or unexpected improvement in mood

How to get help

If you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org, text the crisis line at 741741, call 911, or go to your nearest Emergency Room. The world needs you here.

How to give help

If you are concerned about a friend, do not assume that someone else will reach out to them. Here are some tips for having a conversation about their mental health from the AFSP:

  • Talk to them in private
  • Listen to their story
  • Tell them that you care about them
  • Ask them if they are thinking about suicide
  • Encourage them to seek treatment or contact their doctor or therapist
  • Avoid debating them, minimizing their problems, or giving advice

If they say that they are considering suicide:

  • Take them seriously
  • Stay with them
  • Help remove lethal means (weapons, medications, etc.)
  • Contact a crisis line (via phone, text, or web)
  • Take them to an emergency room

Other Resources

Suicide Prevention Lifelife

Bethe1to: #BeThe1To is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month and beyond, spreading the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide.

CDC’s Vital Signs Fact Sheet

Active Minds

Jed Foundation