Some signs someone’s thinking about suicide
“Everyone would be better off without me…”
A common statement Suicide Prevention Network hears when a person with suicide ideation contacts their office.
Four people were lost to suicide in our community within three weeks. An increasingly common occurrence Suicide Prevention Network is fighting every day to prevent.
Suicides take a toll; over 800,000 people die by suicide every year around the globe; over 47,000 in the U.S. alone. For each adult who dies of suicide, there may be more than 20 others attempting suicide. The impact on families, friends and communities is devastating and far-reaching, long after a person dear to them has taken their own life. Our community is not immune to suicide and in just this year alone, we have 18 reported suicides; the youngest being 13 and the oldest 84.
The message SPN wants to spread to the community is “there is help,” said Executive Director Debbie Posnien.
There are many myths regarding suicide:
People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
Fact: Almost everyone who attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Don’t ignore even indirect references to death or suicide. Statements like “You’ll be sorry when I’m gone,” “I can’t see any way out,”—no matter how casually or jokingly said—may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
Fact: Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They are upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
Fact: You don’t give a struggling person a “push” toward ending their life by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
There are warning signs including: emotional outbursts, alcohol or drug misuse, uncharacteristic risk-taking or recklessness (for example, driving recklessly), withdrawal from family and friends, quitting activities that were previously important, prior suicidal behavior, self-harming, putting affairs in order e.g. giving away possessions, especially those that have special significance.
Seeking out lethal means
Escape: “I can’t take this anymore.”
No future: “What’s the point? Things are never going to get any better.”
Guilt: “It’s all my fault, I’m to blame”
“I’m just a burden, everyone would be better off without me”
Talking about suicide or death
Feeling desperation, sadness, anger, shame, worthlessness, loneliness, isolation or hopelessness
If you spot the warning signs of suicide in someone you care about, you may wonder if it’s a good idea to say anything. What if you’re wrong? What if the person gets angry? In such situations, it’s natural to shy away from that conversation … don’t. Most people who are contemplating suicide are conflicted about ending their life; asking about them, caring about their well-being and connecting with them can be the first steps in them getting help.
There are some basic ways to help reduce suicidal thoughts and get the help needed, whether it’s you or a loved one who is struggling:
Identify triggers. Look for triggers or circumstances that lead to feelings of despair such as a death or a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships. Eliminate what you can and talk to someone, such as a counselor or close friend, about the others.
Remember that feelings are temporary. Feelings come and go and are not permanent.
You’ll learn how to cope with life stresses, as well as to get a new perspective.
Take care of yourself. In addition to eating healthy meals regularly and never skipping meals, get plenty of rest and relaxation to stave off stress and help your body recuperate from days’ past. Exercise is also important for relieving stress and improving your emotional well-being.
Build a community of support. Make the time to be around people with positive influences on your life and those who make you feel good about yourself. Also, don’t forget to give back to your community either through money or your time.
Get active. Just as old habits have to die to let go of suicidal ideation, new ideas must take their place to stick. Develop your personal and professional interests. Find fun things to do, volunteer activities or work that gives you a sense of purpose.
Find ways to relieve stress levels. In addition to exercising, meditate, use sensory strategies to relax, practice simple breathing exercises and challenge self-defeating thoughts.
For information call 775-783-1510 or visit http://www.spnawareness.org. Call the national Suicide Hot Line Number 1-800-273-8255, en Español 1-800-628-9454.