Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Suicide Prevention (Originally Posted 3/21/12)

In keeping with the theme of yesterday’s blog post I would like to take the time to educate you about suicide warning signs and suicide prevention.

The following information was obtained from SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education)

Suicide facts:

  •  Suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans every single year
  •  For people aged 15-24, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death
  •  In the month prior to their suicide 75% of elderly visited their physician
  • 15% of people with clinical depression die by suicide.
  • Substance abuse is a risk factor for suicide
  • Depression is the strongest risk factor for suicide
  • Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States- Homicide is the 15th
  • There is an estimated 4.5 million survivors of suicide in the United States
  • Research has shown medications and therapy to be effective suicide prevention
  • Suicide can be prevented through education and public awareness
  • There are 3 female suicide attempts for each male attempt

Warning signs for suicide include:
  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or 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.
  • Withdrawn or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.
  • Preoccupation with death.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about.
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
  • Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.
  • Giving things away, such as prized possessions.

Common misconceptions about suicide include:

People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.

Not True. Almost everyone who commits or attemps suicide has given some clue or warning.  Do not ignore suicide threats.  Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” - no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.

Not True. Suicidal people may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing. Extreme distress and emotional pain may be signs of mental illness but do not make someone crazy.


If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.

Not True. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, and most waiver until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to end their pain. Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.


People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.

Not True. Studies of adult suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help within six months before their deaths and a majority had seen a medical professional within 1 month of their death.


Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.

Not True. You don't give a suicidal person the idea of suicide by talking about suicide with them. The opposite is true -- bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

What should you do if you see the warning signs of suicide in someone you know?

Begin a dialogue by asking questions. Suicidal thoughts are common with some mental illnesses and your willingness to talk about it in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way can be the help a person needs to seek professional help. Questions that are okay to ask include:
  • "Do you ever feel so badly that you think about suicide?"
  • "Do you have a plan to commit suicide or take your life?"
  • "Have you thought about when you would do it (today, tomorrow, next week)?"
  • "Have you thought about what method you would use?"
Asking these questions will help you to determine if your friend or family member is in immediate danger, and get help if needed. A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately. Calling 911 or going to a hospital emergency room are also good options to prevent a tragic suicide attempt or death. Calling the National Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is also a resource for you or the person you care about for help. Remember, always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously.

Never keep a plan for suicide a secret. Don’t worry about risking a friendship if you truly feel a life is in danger. You have bigger things to worry about than your friendship-someone’s life might be in danger! It is better to lose a relationship from violating a confidence than it is to go to a funeral. And most of the time they will come back and thank you for saving their life.


If you have thoughts of suicide, these options are available to you:

  • Dial: 911
  • Dial: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)  (Suicide prevention hotline)
  • Check yourself into the emergency room.
  • Call your local crisis agency.
  • Immediately tell someone who can assist you in finding help.
  • Stay away from things that might hurt you.
  • Most people can be treated with a combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.


 For more information on suicide visit: SAVE

“If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a word of encouragement, or attempts to understand a lonely person, extraordinary things begin to happen.”-Loretta Girzartis

Thanks for reading! Until next time…

-Kissing Stigma Goodbye-