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Here are some warning signs of suicide

  • Talking about suicide. Preoccupation with death.
  • Looking for ways to die (internet searches for how to commit suicide, looking for guns, pills, etc.)
  • Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
  • Anger, restlessness, agitation, irritability, or other dramatic changes in mood.
  • Recklessness or high risk-taking behavior.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about – Withdrawing from family, friends and activities.
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about.
  • Making arrangements; setting one’s affairs in order. Giving away prized possessions.

If You See the Warning Signs of Suicide…

Begin a dialogue by asking questions. Suicidal thoughts are common with depressive 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 okay to ask:

  • “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 members 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 is also a resource for you or the person you care about for help. Remember, always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously.

Don’t try to minimize problems or shame a person into changing their mind. Your opinion of a person’s situation is irrelevant. Trying to convince a person suffering with a mental illness that it’s not that bad, or that they have everything to live for may only increase their feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Reassure them that help is available, that depression is treatable, and that suicidal feelings are temporary. Life can get better!

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. This is one instance where you must be tenacious in your follow-up. 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.

Image result for suicide

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

  • Dial: 911 or Dial: 1-800-273-TALK
  • Check yourself into the emergency room.
  • Tell someone who can help you find help immediately.
  • Stay away from things that might hurt you.
  • Most people can be treated with antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.
  • Look in your local Yellow Pages under Mental Health and/or Suicide Prevention; then call the mental health organizations or crisis phone lines that are listed. There may be clinics or counseling centers in your area operating on a sliding or no-fee scale.
  • Visit the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill website at http://www.nami.org for more information. http://www.save.org/

A suicidal person urgently needs to see a doctor or mental health professional.           

Information gathered from:  http://www.save.org/

Seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK if you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs:

  • Threatening to hurt of kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt of kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities–seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped–like there is no one way out
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life

November 20th is National Survivors of Suicide Day. Click on this link for more information.


If you have lost someone to suicide, the first thing you should know is that you are not alone. Each year over 33,000 people in the United States die by suicide — the devastated family and friends they leave behind are known as “survivors.” There are millions of survivors who, like you, are trying to cope with this heartbreaking loss.

Survivors often experience a wide range of grief reactions, including some or all of the following:

  • Shock is a common immediate reaction. You may feel numb or disoriented, and may have trouble concentrating.
  • Symptoms of depression, including disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, intense sadness, and lack of energy.
  • Anger towards the deceased, another family member, a therapist, or yourself.
  • Relief, particularly if the suicide followed a long and difficult mental illness.
  • Guilt, including thinking, “If only I had….”
  • These feelings usually diminish over time, as you develop your ability to cope and begin to heal.

What Do I Do Now?

  • Some survivors struggle with what to tell other people. Although you should make whatever decision feels right to you, most survivors have found it best to simply acknowledge that their loved one died by suicide.
  • You may find that it helps to reach out to family and friends. Because some people may not know what to say, you may need to take the initiative to talk about the suicide, share your feelings, and ask for their help.
  • Even though it may seem difficult, maintaining contact with other people is especially important during the stress-filled months after a loved one’s suicide.
  • Keep in mind that each person grieves in his or her own way. Some people visit the cemetery weekly; others find it too painful to go at all.
  • Each person also grieves at his or her own pace; there is no set rhythm or timeline for healing.
  • Anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays may be especially difficult, so you might want to think about whether to continue old traditions or create some new ones. You may also experience unexpected waves of sadness; these are a normal part of the grieving process.
  • Children experience many of the feelings of adult grief, and are particularly vulnerable to feeling abandoned and guilty. Reassure them that the death was not their fault. Listen to their questions, and try to offer honest, straightforward, age-appropriate answers.
  • Some survivors find comfort in community, religious, or spiritual activities, including talking to a trusted member of the clergy.
  • Be kind to yourself. When you feel ready, begin to go on with your life. Eventually starting to enjoy life again is not a betrayal of your loved one, but rather a sign that you’ve begun to heal.

Excerpted from Surviving Suicide Loss: A Resource and Healing Guide.

 

Fear: Antidepressants increase the risk of suicide.

Fact: Studies in recent years have raised concerns that antidepressants may raise the risk of suicide among children, adolescents, and young adults. For example, a 2009 review in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) analyzed 372 studies involving nearly 100,000 people who were taking antidepressants. It found that compared to placebo, use of antidepressant drugs was associated with a small increased risk for suicidal thoughts in some children and young adults, have no effect on suicide risk among those 25 to 64, and reduce risk in those 65 and older.

In 2004, the FDA required manufacturers of antidepressants to revise their labels to include a black box warning statement about these risks.

Other studies paint a different picture. A 2006 study published in PLoS Medicine suggests that the use of antidepressants has saved thousands of lives. Data show that the U.S. suicide rate held fairly steady for 15 years prior to the introduction of the widely used antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) and then dropped steadily over 14 years while sales of Prozac rose. The research team found the strongest effect among women.

The bottom line: Regardless of your age or sex, it’s important to see a doctor immediately if you have suicidal tendencies or witness them in others.

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