Today in America, over 130 people will die by suicide. While tragic on so many levels and for so many people, perhaps the most tragic aspect of suicide is that it is often preventable. While every suicide is unique, there are some common indicators that, if noticed and acted on by others in the distressed person’s life, might just make a difference.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) identifies the following signs that may indicate someone is contemplating ending their life.
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
- Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
- Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
- Talking about great guilt or shame
- Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
- Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Using alcohol or drugs more often
- Acting anxious or agitated
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
- Talking or thinking about death often
- Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
- Giving away important possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- Putting affairs in order, making a will
If you recognize some of these signs and symptoms in yourself or someone you know, then know also that help is available.