Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in people age ten and older in the United States.
It is also, some would say, the ultimate mental health challenge. When a mental illness is life threatening, this is the most likely reason– the person with the illness is in danger of self destruction, or as Hamlet put it, “self slaughter.” (Act I scene 2)
This coming september 23, there will be a webinar specifically on suicide prevention in high schools:
Much attention is paid to the risk of suicide in teens, but the group at highest risk for suicide is actually older men– except for native Alaskan males age 10-24…
But statistic mean nothing if you are considering suicide, or if someone you know is suicidal. What can you do? First of all, if you’re suicidal, seek help. You may not feel this way, but there are people who care about you. I know this because I worked in a setting where the suicide rate was very high, and even the most seemingly isolated folks had friends and relatives who asked, in their grief, “Why didn’t he say something? I would have been there for him.” In that same job, I met a man who had shot himself in the head– and survived. At the time I met him, he still had lots of problems, but he was seeking help. He wasn’t suicidal any more. If you’re in such pain that ending your life seems like a solution, there are people like him who have been there and gotten through it. there are others who have been through tough times and gotten to a better place. Ask around, talk to people.
Here are the warning signs. Do you have them? Does someone you know have them?
The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
IMPORTANT: If you think someone you know is suicidal, don’t be afraid to talk to them about it. Ask: “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?” If you are thinking of hurting yourself, talk to someone. You can get through this. You may not believe me, but you can.