Reminding Loved Ones That Life is Precious:
Suicide Prevention Resources
Suicide is a very serious
issue that can also have serious effects on individuals, their families, and the community. While the causes of suicide
are complex and multiple factors may be in play, prevention is the final goal. Simply reducing the factors that increase
risk and realizing that the issue can encompass all aspects of a person’s life is a start. Prevention should ideally
address all areas of influence. To be effective, prevention should promote awareness and encourage social change.
There are approximately one million people that die from suicide each
year globally. That’s one death almost every forty seconds. These figures do not include attempted suicide, which is
twenty times more frequent. As times get more difficult in the world, there is concern these numbers could rise. One of
the top leading causes of death is suicide. While figures vary for different areas of the world, the overall age groups
most at risk are those aged 10 to 44.
rates have traditionally been highest, but recently the rate among youths has increased exponentially. This increase now
puts this group at the highest rate in one third of developed and developing countries. Europeans and those living in North
America are at major risk due to mental disorders, while impulsiveness is the risk factor in Asian countries. There are
social, psychological, cultural, biological and even environmental factors at play; it is a complex issue.
There are signs to look for that could reveal
someone at risk. Pay extra attention if someone’s behavior is new, if the behavior has increased, or if it appears
to be related to loss, change or after a painful event. It may be prudent to seek the help of a mental health professional.
For immediate care, there are local and international crisis contacts available in almost all countries and states. If you
know someone exhibiting any of the following signs it may be time to intervene.
- Talking about death, wanting to die or kill themselves.
- Talking about not having a reason to be alive or an overall feeling of hopelessness.
- Doing research or Internet searches of weapons, especially guns.
- Talking about how he or she is a burden to those around them.
- Talking about having a feeling of being trapped or in pain.
- More frequent use of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Spending a lot of time sleeping or not sleeping enough.
- Feeling isolated or withdrawing from others.
- Acting recklessly; agitated or anxious.
- Talking about taking revenge or displaying rage.
- Uncharacteristic extreme mood swings.
- A sudden change or disregard for personal hygiene.
Pay even closer attention to these warning signs if the person is
bipolar, an alcoholic, or has depression and a past history with attempted suicide. Sometimes one of the most dangerous
signs is that of feeling hopeless. Hopelessness can strongly predict suicide. When a person feels there is no future and
foresees nothing positive they may feel day-to-day life is unbearable. This feeling can be intensified if there is a family
history of suicide, as it may seem that their loved ones also saw no reason to go on.
Someone feeling suicidal might not seek help, but it doesn’t mean help isn’t
wanted. Most people in this situation don’t really want to die; they just want the hurt to stop. Prevention begins
by recognizing the signs and not ignoring them. If you believe someone in your life is considering suicide, don’t be
afraid to talk about it. Simply bringing up the subject could save the person’s life and often prevention begins with
the sensitive responses of a loved one. Give your family member or friend alternatives, show them you care, and get a medical
professional involved. Your reassurance, understanding and support may help the person conquer their ideas of suicide. If
he or she opens up to you with feelings of despair or suicidal thoughts, seek the help of a health professional immediately!
If you find yourself in such a situation, remain calm and be prepared
to really listen if the person wants to talk. Be understanding and offer emotional support. This is not a time to be angry
with the person or disregard what they are feeling. Talk directly about suicide, most people aren’t sure about their
feelings about dying or death and want help. Discuss alternatives and problem-solving ideas. Remember the person is not
emotionally in a right place and their thinking may be clouded. Be encouraging, hopeful and confident that you can help to
arrange whatever is needed to help.
If you have already
lost a young person to suicide, memorials are not recommended. While it seems like the right thing to do, unlike an accidental
death, a suicide can create issues for other youth in crisis. The problem is that an accident does not attract the attention
or likelihood of another youth dying in the same way. A young person, who is struggling with thoughts of suicide, may see
the death of another as a viable option. Research has shown that memorials can create this kind of thinking, especially if
it seems that instead of being mourned, the person has been honored for what they have done. The following resources can
help provide more information and assistance:
Suicide Prevention Action Network
A page full of national suicide prevention organizations
links as well as initiatives and resources.
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
Helpful links available for those in crisis now
that need immediate help. Information for survivors of suicide who need emotional support services. There are also links
for upcoming events and general information.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Includes a crisis hot-line phone number, resource
pages on how to get help, and signs of a potential suicide attempt.
Suicide Warning Signs You Need to Know
• Suicide Prevention Spotting the Signs and Helping a Suicidal Person
Find helpful articles for teens and adults on prevention.
Also, includes common misconceptions about suicide and a related links section.
• Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Suicide prevention resources: substance abuse and
suicide, prevention lifeline, and suicide prevention resource center.
• What is Suicide & How to Intervene
Website includes information on why college students
kill themselves, myths and facts, warning signs, and ways to help.
• Counseling Center at University of Illinois
Offers basic information on why people kill themselves,
myths about suicide, how to help and where to find additional help.
• Youth Suicide Prevention Curriculum
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction offers
information on how to educate youth about suicide prevention.
• U.S. Air Force Suicide Prevention Program
This site is designed to provide information and
tools to members of the Air Force community. Includes: suicide prevention training, videos and more.
• Preventing Suicide
The CDC offers helpful information to guide people
through the signs and symptoms of suicide.
Why do people take their own lives?
University of New Hampshire counseling offers helpful
information on the danger signs of suicide, plus other helpful information.
• Suicide Prevention Basics
An introduction to suicide and suicide prevention
with an article entitled “The Public Health Approach to Preventing Suicide.”
• Virginia Department of Health
Suicide Prevention Program includes contact information and key national resources.
• Language Describing Suicidal Behavior
Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Program’s list
of behaviors that may lead to suicide attempt or death.
Stop a Suicide Today!
This site offers information on the signs of suicide,
how to help a friend, facts on suicide, and suicide and mental illness. Also includes pages for professionals, survivors,
and help on how to stop suicide.
• U.S. Army Medical Department
This site offers many resources including videos,
articles, training, informative tools and much more.
General Information About Suicide
List of risk and protective factors, warning signs,
how to help those thinking about suicide, and national statistics on suicide.
• How to Answer Questions Teens Ask About Suicide
A Q&A on how to answer specific questions that
a youth may have about different topics relating to suicide.
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