September is National Suicide Awareness Month in the United States and this week kicks off the awareness campaign.
Sadly, suicide is currently the 2nd leading cause of death among people ages 10-34. Suicide is also on the rise in a number of other age groups. As part of Suicide Prevention Week, it’s important to understand some of the important warning signs that someone you know might be at risk.
Warning signs that may mean someone is at risk include:
- Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Lack of social support and sense of isolation
- Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- History of trauma or abuse
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Family history of suicide
- Previous suicide attempt(s)
- Loss of relationship(s)
So, what can you do if you fear for someone in your life? While it seems simple to say that it might be time to intervene, most people don’t know where to start.
If you think someone you know may be thinking about suicide, some important steps you can take include:
- Call 911, if the danger of self-harm seems critical.
- Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves.
- Listen non-judgmentally and show concern.
- Make sure the person is not alone until you can get further help.
- Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
- Reach out to one of the following resources.
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Free 24/7 support for anyone in suicidal crisis
- Call from anywhere in the United States and you will be connected with the closest crisis center in your area.
Text “Brave” to 741-741
- Free 24/7 support for anyone in crisis
- A trained volunteer will receive the text and respond from a secure online platform.
- Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people.