As the 10th leading cause of death among adults and the 2nd leading cause of death in young people aged 10-24, suicide claims over 40,000 lives every year. September is Suicide Prevention Month. It’s a time to raise awareness of the issues surrounding suicide, because the more awareness surrounding the risk factors and signs of suicide, the better.
Know the Risk Factors and Warning Signs of Suicidal Ideation
Before someone attempts or commits suicide, they usually (but not always) exhibit some warning signs. First, there are risk factors. These can include:
Those who have had a family member or close friend die from suicide are also at increased risk.
Signs of suicidal ideation include:
- Social withdrawal from family members and friends
- Reckless behavior that could lead to death
- An obsession with death
Sometimes a person who is considering suicide will talk a lot about dying or weapons that could be used to cause death. The person might lose interest in activities that they had previously enjoyed or might start giving away treasured belongings.
This Suicide Prevention Month, learn what steps you can take to help prevent suicide.
One effective way of preventing suicide is to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of the mental health issues that can lead to suicide. Many people who die from suicide suffer from depression; knowing the signs of depression can allow concerned loved ones to recognize the situation and encourage the person to seek help.
Reducing the stigma that accompanies mental health issues is another way to prevent suicide. Many times, people are embarrassed or ashamed to seek help because they are afraid that other will look at them negatively. Supporting people who seek mental health care and not allowing others to disparage individuals with mental health conditions are good steps toward reducing that stigma.
What to Do If Someone Is Suicidal
If someone is threatening to commit suicide, follow these steps:
Step 1: Remain calm but take decisive action. Remove any weapons or substances that he or she might use to self-harm.
Step 2: Ask how you can help and avoid getting into an argument with the individual.
Step 3: Head to the nearest emergency room if they will allow it or, if it’s an emergency situation, call 911.