During times of extreme stress, people may have thoughts of suicide. Suicide is preventable, and help is available.
Asking the following questions will help you to determine if your friend or family member is in immediate danger and requires the needed help:
- “Do you ever feel so bad 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?”
⚠︎ A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately. Always take suicidal thoughts or plans seriously!
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Ideation (thinking, talking or wishing about suicide)
- Substance use or abuse (increased use or change in substance)
- Purposelessness (no sense of purpose or belonging)
- Trapped (feeling like there is no way out)
- Hopelessness (there is nothing to live for, no hope or optimism)
- Withdrawal (from family, friends, work, school, activities, hobbies)
- Anxiety (restlessness, irritability, agitation)
- Recklessness (high risk-taking behaviour)
- Mood disturbance (dramatic changes in mood)
At times it may help to alert those closest to the suicidal person to maintain a vigilant watch over the persons’ behaviour. Confide your concerns in a mental health professional or trusted confidant and together decide how to intervene.
Additional Warning Signs of Suicide
- Talking about suicide
- Looking for ways to die (internet searches on how to commit suicide, looking for guns, pills, etc.)
- Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness
- Preoccupation with death
- Suddenly happier and calmer
- Loss of interest in things one cares about
- Visiting or calling people one cares about
- Making arrangements, setting one’s affairs in order
- Giving things away, such as prized possessions
What To Do If You Recognise The Warning Signs
- Don’t try to minimise problems or shame a person into changing his/her mind. Your opinion of a person’s situation is irrelevant. Trying to convince a person who has a mental illness that they have everything to live for, or that it’s not that bad, may only increase their feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Reassure them that help is available, that depression is treatable, and that feelings of suicide are temporary. Life can get better!
- Never keep a suicide plan a secret. Don’t worry about risking a friendship if you truly feel a life is in danger.
- If you feel the person isn’t in immediate danger, acknowledge the pain as legitimate and offer to work together to get help. Make sure you follow through!
Help find a doctor or a mental health professional, participate in making the first phone call, or go along to the first appointment. If you’re in a position to help, don’t assume that your persistence is unwanted or intrusive. Risking your feelings to help save a life is a risk worth taking.
Common Misconceptions About Suicide
✘ People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
✔︎ Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning.
✘ Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
✔︎ They are upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing.
✘ If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.
✔︎ Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death. Most of them fluctuate until the last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die.
✘ People who die by suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
✔︎ Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help within six months before their deaths.
✘ Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
✔︎ You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true – bringing up the subject of suicide, and discussing it is one of the most helpful things you can do.
⚠︎ A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately. Remember, always take suicidal thoughts or plans seriously!
- Check yourself into the emergency room.
- Tell someone who can help you to find help immediately.
- Stay away from things that might hurt you.
- Most people can be treated with a combination of anti-depressant medication and psychotherapy.
If you or someone you know are in crisis, get help immediately. Call or WhatsApp Life Path Health’s 24/7-Helpline at 072-7900-506