September Is Suicide Awareness Month: Can You Name The Signs?

Although many more attempt suicide each year in the U.S. than they are successful, we still lose several million people a year to the taking of their own life. While a tragedy in itself, the wake of pain and heartache left behind for those who loved the deceased are often stricken with grief and anger as well. The Inquisitr recently reported on steps to intercede when you feel someone may be a suicide risk; you can read about that here.

Contrary to popular belief, most people who attempt or commit suicide have many warning signs that can be subtle or glaring. Many have attempted suicide before, and many have sought treatment for their depression and/or suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately, according to the Baltimore Sun, while the stigma associated with mental illness is less than it was in decades past, it remains a considerable roadblock to receiving optimal psychiatric care. The cost of healthcare is also closely intertwined with the inability for many patients to seek in-patient hospital treatment as hospital costs continue to skyrocket. According to the Baltimore Sun, there are several warning signs of suicide that should not be ignored. These include:

  • Talking about wanting to die, or seeing no way out of unbearable pain — emotional or physical
  • Increasing use of substance abuse, including alcohol, illegal, and prescription drugs
  • Searching for, and preparing means to commit suicide (such as obtaining a gun)
  • Giving away prized possessions to others
  • Talking about feeling like a “burden” to those around them, or expressing that people would be better off without them
  • A loss of interest in usually loved activities, or no desire to visit with friends or family
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Difficulty in carrying out day to day activities, like attending school or showing up at work
  • A desire to sleep all the time, or insomnia
  • Outbursts or rage or other emotions not typical of the individual

Studies have shown that many suicide attempts are made on impulse and under the influence of alcohol or drugs, suggesting that the individual may not have chosen suicide if they had waited several days for their immediate mood or crisis to pass. Unfortunately, many of those people do not reach out during this critical time and believe that their feelings of sadness and hopelessness are not treatable.

According to My Wabash Valley, many people in this country are directly affected by the suicide of a friend, family member or loved one — the majority of Americans, in fact, have been affected by someone else’s suicide at a rate of fifty-five percent. While it’s never easy to admit that your friend or loved one may be in danger, some of these signs may be the only clues they give before they take their life. Studies show that talking about suicide does not increase suicide, in fact, it does just the opposite: it may help a person open up about their pain and not feel so alone.

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