Suicide: Break the Silence

how to stop the stigma around suicide, how to prevent suicide

Suicide: Break the Silence


Suicide something that can affect whole communities and change lives forever. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America, with 47,173 Americans dying by suicide in 2017 alone. For more information, click here.


Break the Silence

Suicide is one of those taboo topics that everyone knows about, yet everyone is reluctant to talk about. This is dangerous. Failing to talk about suicide, its warning signs, and what to do to get help can cost countless lives.


Risk Factors for Suicide

There are numerous risk factors that increase a person’s chances of dying by suicide.


These risk factors include:

  • Being male

  • Being older (middle age and beyond)

  • Having depression

  • Having attempted suicide in the past

  • Alcohol use and abuse

  • Altered mental states (such as psychosis)

  • Lack of social support

  • Having an organized plan

  • Not being married

  • Having a serious, chronic illness


Warning Signs of Suicide

Most people express warning signs prior to attempting suicide.


While they vary from person to person, here are some of the primary warning signs:

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself

  • Talking about feeling hopeless, purposeless, or trapped

  • Talking about being a burden to others

  • Changes in sleep and mood

  • Social withdrawal or isolation

  • Sudden elevation in mood**

  • Giving away possessions**

** These two symptoms tend to occur right after someone decides they are going to die by suicide. While many may see a boost in mood as positive, it must be addressed if there have been other signs and symptoms present.


What to Do

If you know someone who is showing warning signs of suicide, don’t wait.


Have the conversation

This can be a scary conversation to have, but it can end up saving someone’s life. Ask the person the question straight on, “Are you contemplating death by suicide?” They are likely to be honest with you, and will likely be thankful for you asking either way. A common myth is that asking someone about suicide will put the thought in their head. This is not true. Asking about suicide does not increase suicidality.


Reach out for help

If someone is at imminent risk for suicide, call 911 immediately to get the person support. If the person expresses suicidal thoughts, desires, or a plan, connect them to a trained professional. Ideally, refer the person to a therapist who has experience working with people experiencing suicidal thoughts. However, also provide the person with resources they can access at all times.


Resources:

Crisis Text Line - text 741-741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA) - 1-800-273-8255


If you need help

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, reach out to someone. Whether it be a close friend or loved one, a therapist, or a hotline, talk to someone about what is going on and make sure you are getting the support you need. This can be incredibly scary to go through, but you are not alone. Reach out for support and keep holding on.


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