Suicide Prevention and Warning Signs

No one likes to talk about it. But the truth is that suicide rates are rising in America and almost everyone has been touched, either directly or indirectly, by this tragic reaction to stressful life situations. 

Death, particularly by suicide, is nearly impossible to understand. Yet, so many who grieve the loss of someone who has taken their own life often look for answers which makes the process of bereavement that much more challenging. Fortunately, there are actions we can all take to help prevent suicide including: starting a conversation, offering support, and directing others to get the help they need. 

If you are concerned that someonel may be contemplating suicide, don’t be afraid to ask them about their mental health. Sometimes simply asking a person about their thoughts can help them re-examine their wish to die.

The death of a loved one is never easy, whether it comes without warning or after a long battle with illness. But several circumstances set death by suicide apart and make the process of bereavement more challenging. 

Many people have trouble admitting that a family member may be mentally ill and secretly concerned about whether their loved one may be contemplating suicide. Being aware of the warning signs can help prevent this strategic outcome. Here are 15 warning signs, from The National Suicide Prevention network, that someone may be suicidal.

Warning Signs

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Exhibiting reckless behavior; acting anxious or agitated
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

Suicide is unlike any other death. A death caused by cancer, heart disease,  or old age may feel sudden, but in general, most Americans accept these losses as part of life. However, when someone commits suicide, it often leaves the living survivors wondering how they could have missed the warning signs and what they should have done to prevent the tragic loss of life.

While the pain and loss will never go away, suicide survivors must understand that they are not to blame and those who have died by suicide did not do this to hurt you. They did it to stop their own pain— a pain they thought would never end. There’s no way to know the demons they faced or how many years it was going on. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

For more information on The National Suicide Prevention network, visit their website suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-TALK. Please share your comments and be sure to check out our podcast, Speaking Candidly with Candace, for real life stories about those coping and recovering from mental health issues.