Suicide is a national epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 47,500 Americans die by suicide every year. It is the second leading cause of death in the nation for people 10 to 30 years of age.
So, what can we do to reduce these statistics?
A good first step is to talk about it. Having open conversations with your friends and loved ones about their mental health gives them a safe space to discuss any struggles or overwhelming emotions they may be experiencing.
Another way to help is to know the signs. Suicidal thoughts don’t have clear-cut indications, however, the list below might be a useful tool for supporting the people around you.
- Talking about feeling hopeless or worthless.
- Giving away possessions.
- Talking about how other’s lives would be better without them.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Acting abnormally anxious or irritated.
- Talking about having no reason to live.
- Behaving recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
- Extreme mood swings.
- Exhibiting a lack of care for their safety.
- Lack of interest in future plans
The best way to help someone with suicidal thoughts is to encourage them to seek help. Addressing a friend or loved one about their suicidal thoughts can be difficult and sensitive. Often, the person might not be immediately receptive to having the conversation. However, the effort and discomfort are worth it.
Here is a simple guide for how to approach the discussion.
Ask: Gently inquire if they ever think about dying or killing themselves. Doing so will not put the idea in their head or make them more likely to attempt suicide.
Listen: This one is self-explanatory. It is important to let the person know that you are listening without judgment and that you are there for support.
Stay: Don’t leave them alone after the conversation. Makes sure that they are in a safe place or with another caring person that can support them.
Secure: If you suspect that the person could be a danger to themselves, take them seriously. Remove any objects that can be used for harm.
Talk: The best way to support someone with suicidal thoughts is to get them help. There are many resources available, whether it’s a crisis hotline or a therapist.
National Suicide Prevention Line: 1(800) 273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
If you are struggling with depression or anxiety and would like to speak with a counselor, give Tx Harmony Counseling a call or contact us here.