What You Didn’t Know About Suicide

What You Didn’t Know About Suicide

September 10th is National Suicide Prevention Day.

To honor this significant date, we’re going to explore the undercurrents of suicide and offer some tips for loved ones to support those who are most at risk.

Suicide Statistics to Consider

Suicidal behavior is a sign that something feels deeply wrong in a person’s life.

Suicide, or self-injury intentionally resulting in death, is among the leading causes of death in the United States.

And for every death by suicide, there are more than a dozen additional suicide attempts.

These are staggering figures.

Yet, suicidal crises often pass—and treatment is available for those who exhibit suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

The Warning Signs of Suicide

Many suicidal people hint at their troubling thoughts, revealing their suicidal ideation either verbally or through their actions.

The following symptoms may indicate a person is at risk of death by suicide:

  • References to feelings of despair or hopelessness

  • Withdrawal and isolation from friends and family

  • Giving away or selling meaningful possessions

  • Lack of interest in current commitments and future plans

Statements like “I’m a failure” or “You’d be happier without me” may also indicate a person is contemplating suicide.

How You Can Help Someone at Risk

If you fear someone you love—or anyone in your life—is at risk of death by suicide, please don’t be afraid to offer your support.

You might consider one of the following responses:

  • Summarize the distress the person shares with you in your own words. This will show them you’re listening and reinforce that you care.

  • Ask the person to describe their reasons for living and dying. Be gentle and empathetic. Sit with them, and let them know gently how devastated you would be if they weren’t around.

Experts believe it is better to discuss the person’s feelings directly instead of avoiding the issue, as this can offer reassurance and promote better understanding.

If you believe someone is in immediate danger of ending their life, contact a local crisis center or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.