Suicide Warning Signs and Prevention

There is a saying that suicide is a long-term solution to a short-term problem. Healthy coping methods will guide many to a less drastic alternative. 

But for people who have reached the end of their rope, suicidal thoughts may seem like the only way out

What is Suicide?

Suicide is the act of intentionally taking one’s own life. It may seem inexplicable to some that anyone might make such a choice. 

However, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US. According to the World Health Organization, someone commits suicide every 40 seconds; that is 700,000 people a year. 

It is also a problem that afflicts multiple ethnicities, income brackets, and age groups, with some victims as young as 10.

With many instances of suicide being related to a mental illness, it is reasonable to view it as a symptom of a mental health disorder

Many suicide victims suffer from depression or bipolar disorder. Whatever the primary cause, a suicide attempt is a clear sign that a person is in serious distress.

Suicide Warning Signs

Suicide is an act that affects more than just the victim; families and friends are profoundly impacted and often deal with the resulting guilt attached. 

In 80% of cases, however, there are suicide warning signs, which could assist in helping someone who is considering taking this drastic step. 

These include:

  • Threats of suicide may include suggesting that the world might be better without them or that they feel they are a burden
  • Comments that indicate feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • A history of suicide attempts
  • Dangerous or reckless behavior
  • Depression, sadness, or moodiness
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Changes in personality 
  • Changes in behavior, appearance, or sleep patterns
  • Sudden calmness after a depression
  • Giving away possessions
  • Disassociation from future plans

Although some might be tempted to dismiss suicide threats as simply attention-seeking behavior, they should never be ignored. 

According to Mental Health America, people who talk about killing themselves are 30 times more likely to commit suicide.

Causes of Suicidal Thoughts

With depression and mental health issues being key instigators of suicidal thoughts, awareness of these conditions is important. 

However, for many, a prevailing sense of hopelessness can often trigger suicidal tendencies

Countless reasons might lead a person to this point. They are principally connected to overwhelming situations that might leave someone with a sense of being unable to overcome their circumstances. 

Some situations that might cause suicidal thoughts include:

Loss of a loved one

Living with a terminal illness, chronic illness, or chronic pain

Financial Pressures

Social Isolation

High Risk Professions

Legal Issues

Incarceration and Jail Time

Loneliness among elderly people

Psychological conflict over gender identity

Risk Factors for Suicide

Trauma and mental health issues impact everyone differently, but some may have several factors at play that might predispose them to attempt suicide. 

For example:

A mental health condition

Previous suicide attempts

Chronic pain or illness

Traumatic relationship loss

Legal or financial problems

Substance abuse issues

A tendency toward impulsive behavior

Access to medication, firearms, or other potentially lethal means

A family history of suicide

A history of abuse—physical, emotional, or sexual

In some cases, cultural or societal issues may also play a role. Various groups may be more inclined to struggle with feelings of shame or guilt around asking for help or admitting to mental health issues. 

Others may have limited access to healthcare services. And some people may have a cultural or religious belief that views suicide as an acceptable option. 

In some instances, they may have been exposed to suicide coverage in the media, making it seem more acceptable. 

In the US, American Indians display the highest rates of suicide. However, other groups at risk include veterans, rural residents, and young members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. 

As the second-highest cause of death among people aged 10 to 24, teen suicide is also a big concern. Suicidal tendencies among teens have been associated with feelings of stress, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, disappointment, and loss. 

When these occur during the turbulent phase of adolescence, some teens may feel that suicide this a solution. 

In general, however, suicide is most prevalent within the 45-54-year-old age bracket. Women have higher rates of suicide attempts, while men are more likely to succeed. It is assumed that the reason for this is that men often have access to more lethal options, such as firearms.

Suicide prevention

It can be disturbing to become aware that a family member, friend, or loved one is developing suicidal thoughts, and it is natural to want to help them. Though many may deny having these feelings, it is important to trust one’s instincts when suicide warning signs become clear. 

Since suicidal tendencies are often symptomatic of an underlying issue, it is helpful to diagnose these and attend to them. While in extreme cases, hospitalization may be required, long-term assistance addresses the bigger issues at play and focus on suicide prevention at a deeper level. 

For instance:

Medication for the treatment of depression or mental health conditions—this may vary, depending on the underlying issue, but antidepressants are often the first port of call

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps the patient identify triggers, resolve underlying issues, and develop healthy coping mechanisms

Establishing lifestyle changes incorporating healthy diet and exercise routines, regular sleep, building a support network, and having a plan in place should warning signs re-emerge

Treatment for substance abuse issues if they occur alongside mental illness

Family support and education

What to do if someone is threatening suicide

While it is not wise to try to personally counsel a person who is threatening to end their own life, there are steps that can be taken to deter them.

The most valuable thing you can do to help someone who is threatening or talking about suicide is to get them help.

Get help for Suicidal Thoughts

Whether helping someone who is showing suicidal behavior or dealing with personal suicidal thoughts, this condition is not to be taken lightly and should be addressed as soon as possible. 

When facing a crisis, suicide hotlines are a good starting point because they are manned by staff who are trained to manage such incidents. However, the ideal solution is to pinpoint the primary cause and resolve this in the long term. 

Trained counselors at Psyclarity Health have the skills to provide suicide help and assist in developing a positive mindset to keep from being overwhelmed by future events.

Get in touch with Psyclarity Health today to get the compassionate, qualified mental health treatment you need to live your life to the fullest.


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