Warning Signs of Suicide
December 12, 2017
Being aware of the feelings and actions of those around us is something we can all do to prevent suicide.
If you notice that someone in your life is exhibiting these warning signs, ask, listen, and get help.
Ask: "Are you thinking about suicide." Using the word "suicide" is not going to put the idea of suicide in someone's head. By using the word, "suicide," you can remove any questions of "what are we really talking about," and the person is often relieved that someone understands and cares enough to ask. You are also establishing yourself as a safe person to talk to.
This can often be an uncomfortable conversation--and that's okay! The conversation taking place is more important than your comfort level. Giving the person a chance to share their feelings could save their life.
Listen: As humans, we have a natural desire to fix things. Fight that. Be a sounding board. Listen to the person. Give them a chance to be heard and try to empathize with their feelings. Giving unsolicited advice, or telling them "it'll all be alright," can feel dismissive. (Think about the last time you needed to vent and you got advice instead...) Something you find trivial could be a huge deal to them. Often the person needs an opportunity to share their feelings and know that someone understands them. Let them know you care through listening and understanding.
Get help: Depending on the severity of the situation, there are several courses of action one can take. If the person has a plan or has already taken action to kill themselves, call 9-1-1. If you are worried about yourself or someone else, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255, or your local mental health center with them, but don't leave them alone.