If you feel that you may be suicidal, call or text 988 for 24/7 support. Please know that you are not alone. There are resources available to support you.
In this article, we share suicidal ideation or suicide warning signs and how you can help if someone you know may be thinking about suicide or you think they may be at risk.
September has been National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month since 2008. It is a time to recognize those affected by suicide, draw attention to the suicide warning signs, and bring awareness to the services and resources available to prevent suicide.
Incidents of suicide are on the rise. According to a 2020 report by the CDC, suicide was listed as the 12th leading cause of death in the United States and claims the lives of more than 45,900 people annually. This same report showed suicide was the second leading cause of death for ages 10-14 and 25-34, third for ages 15-24, and fifth for ages 35-44.
If someone you know may be at risk, it is important to know the suicide risk factors, suicide warning signs and how you can help someone you know who might need urgent help.
SUICIDE RISK FACTORS
Risk factors include aspects of a person’s health, environment, and personal history that can increase the likelihood of a person attempting suicide.
- Prior history of mental health conditions (i.e. depression and anxiety)
- Chronic disease or disability
- Previous suicide attempts
- Substance abuse problems
- Stressful life events such as a bad breakup, loss of a job, or death of a loved one
- Being in financial or legal trouble
- Access to firearms or drugs
- Social isolation or lacking a support system
- Exposure to suicide (research shows that personally knowing someone who died by suicide correlates with increased suicidal thoughts and attempts)
- Unsafe or stressful home life
- A family history of suicide
- Lack of access to healthcare
- Childhood abuse and or trauma
SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS
Suicide warning signs signal someone could be in immediate danger of harming themselves and may need help urgently. These suicide warning signs can present themselves through changes in how the person speaks, acts, and behaves.
- Talking about wanting to die or harm themselves
- Referring to themselves as a burden
- Seeking out a weapon
- Researching life-ending methods
- Extreme mood swings
- Extreme anger or rage
- Sudden calmness
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Sudden disinterest in favorite activities and hobbies
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Giving away personal possessions
- Saying goodbye
- Making a will or other “getting their assets in order” actions
WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE YOU KNOW EXHIBITS SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS
Not every person who speaks about or shows suicide warning signs will follow through with the action. Nonetheless, suicide warning signs, with or without risk factors, should be taken seriously. If you are worried someone you know is at risk for suicide, there are a few things you can do:
- Speak with them in a private and in a safe environment
- Directly ask them if they are thinking about suicide or other ways of harming themselves
- Listen to them without judgment
- Remove any items that could be used to harm themselves or in a suicide attempt
- If possible, do not leave them alone
- Encourage them to contact their mental health professional, to call Colorado Crisis Services 24/7 at 844.493.8255 or to call or text 988
WHO TO CALL OR WHERE TO GO
CALL 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – The 911 of Mental Health, 988 can be called or texted 24/7 to connect you with free and confidential support.
CALL Colorado Crisis Services at 844.493.8255 – The phone is answered 24/7 and resources are provided over the phone.
GO TO the nearest mental health hospital (such as Denver Springs) or a hospital emergency room.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Suicide is not a comfortable topic for most. But suicide is an important topic that has to be spoken about. A lot of work is being done to destigmatize suicide so we can talk about it more freely. Gratefully, awareness programs in schools have shown signs of reduced suicide attempts. This shows that knowledge IS power. When you educate yourself on the warning signs of suicide, the actions to take, and what resources are available for help, you are actively supplying yourself with the tools that could very well save a life.
See more information in these articles about the warning signs of suicide and what to do if someone you know may be thinking about suicide or you think they may be at risk: Depression Counseling for Adults and Teens and Suicide Awareness and Prevention.
Learn how pop culture impacts rates of suicide.
CONTACT CREATIVE COUNSELING CENTER
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, or suicidal ideation, we encourage you to speak with a trained and experienced therapist to discuss treatment. We offer a FREE phone consultation. Simply complete the brief form below and a member of our team will contact you soon. You are not alone. Together we can see if working with one of our specialists is the right answer for you or your loved one.