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How To Recognize A Potential Suicide

by on October 30, 2011 >> 20 Comments
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There is nothing subtle about a suicide attempt. It is a dramatic plea for help or proclamation of hopelessness. Often suicide is not a spontaneous act, but one that a person plans consciously in order to escape an intolerable existence. Yet, far too often, no one recognizes the potential suicide’s despair and a person dies who really wants to live.

With life at stake, you should know how to identify the warning signs of suicide. Here are some things to be aware of:

Watch out for extremes in mood. Suicidal people may be hopelessly depressed and withdrawn from life or so agitated that they cannot eat or sleep. If you observe that a person who usually enjoy going out and doing various activities suddenly withdraw from doing them, it is very likely that person is depressed, and depression can lead to suicide.

Be alert for extreme mood swings. A person who is severely depressed one day, elated the next, and depressed again the day after may be struggling with the desire to live and the even stronger desire to die.

Be concerned when people start giving away the things they love. They may be telling you that they no longer have any reason to live.

Be alert for a crisis that may precipitate a suicide attempt. When suicidal individuals feel overwhelmed by external events – the loss of a job, the death of a parent, a pile of unpaid bills – they may feel that there is no way to cope with life as it is.

Listen for a suicide “plan”. Suicidal people often talk about their death wish long before they try to kill themselves.

Take every suicide attempt seriously – no matter how ineffective it is. People who threaten to take their lives are crying for help. They want someone to save them from their intolerable situation.

Be aware that people who quickly bounce back from a suicide attempt and act as if nothing happened may try to kill themselves again within a short time unless they receive help.

Last but not least, if someone says to you ‘I feel like I do not want to live anymore, or I cannot live like this anymore’ please do not dismiss or disbelieve them. You can direct them to seek professional help, and also try to do whatever you can to help. Do not just look away!

Remember, most suicides really wanted to live. Suicide is preventable – if you know how to help.

Who is at highest risk?

Over the last two decades, suicides among teenagers, young adults, and women have increased sharply. People who have attempted suicide are among the highest risk group for subsequent suicide. About 70 to 80 percent of suicides had previously attempted or threatened suicide. Among young adults particularly, suicide attempts are often a cry for help that should be heeded. Those who attempt suicide are frequently trying to cope with a situation they find intolerable. Unfortunately, if their attempt succeeds, it is a permanent “solution” to what may actually have been only a temporary problem.

Suicide is 500 times more likely to occur among severely depressed people than among the general population; however, people who are not depressed also commit suicide. If a person who is not depressed exhibits some of the warning signs, do not allow yourself a false sense of security. People who are closest to potential suicides are usually the best resource that individual has, and will most often be the ones to call for help for their loved one. Being attentive to what is going on in your family and closest friend’s lives can help.

Check your local authorities for suicide prevention information, and keep it handy should the need arise to use it. In many countries, including the United States of America, there are suicide prevention centers and hotlines set up in many communities, and are operated by volunteers trained to counsel callers who need help in coping with personal crises.

Suicides are usually more prevalent in economically downward times, like we are having today. Being our brother’s keeper can and will inevitably help to minimize suicidal thoughts and attempts.

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20 Responses to How To Recognize A Potential Suicide

  1. Lloyd Christie on October 31, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Hey Marie, Love the Look of your site, very eye catching… Somebody once told me that life is a series of Peaks and Valleys, Days and Nights, this is something which must be remembered. When life gets dark, the sun will rise :)

    Hope this post lands on the eyes of people who need it

    Blessing
    Lloyd Christie recently posted..The Art Of A Successful PlayerMy Profile

    • Marie on October 31, 2011 at 8:32 pm

      Hi Lloyd, very encouraging comment. Thank you.

      This is a very true statement: “When life gets dark, the sun will rise”. I hope someone will read this post and find encouragement through your words.

      More blessings to you.
      Marie recently posted..How To Recognize A Potential SuicideMy Profile

  2. Nancy on October 31, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Losing a loved one by any means is tough, but losing a loved one to suicide is even tougher, especially if there is no note or anyway to know why. If family members and close friends are observant, they will be able to pick up on the change in the persons behavior and seek to provide some help. Being withdrawn is a sure sign someone is depress, and anyone with any idea of how depression works will know that it can definitely lead to suicide.

    As Lloyd said, “Hope this post lands on the eyes of people who need it”

    Keep writing informative posts Marie, there are some real people in need. Thanks.

    • Marie on October 31, 2011 at 9:31 pm

      Absolutely Nancy! Family members and close friends are key in observing and providing needed help to potential suicides. Not knowing why can be even more painful than the actual suicide.

      Thanks for contributing.
      Marie recently posted..How To Recognize A Potential SuicideMy Profile

  3. Joel on October 31, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    You have hit the nail right on its head Marie. I find your first paragraph very telling. I have always believed that the people who commit suicide, or attempt to, do not really want to die. They feel entrapped with no way out.

    Many people believe that people who commit or attempt suicide are sick, but I believe that anyone who is caught in an intolerable situation can feel forced to end their “trauma” and will succeed without the help of close family, friends, or professionals.

    What is unbearable to me may not be unbearable to you, and vice versa. We are individuals – alike but different at the same time. We are all in this journey called life, but we all have different experiences and pathways.

    Very good post!

    • Marie on October 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      Most definitely Joel! I am sure they would prefer to live, if only the problem(s) could be undone or be resolved quickly. As you clearly states, our intolerance levels are different.

      Thanks for your input.
      Marie recently posted..How To Recognize A Potential SuicideMy Profile

  4. Katherine on October 31, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    There are so many people who could be at risk, and the list you have is a good example of the signs that we should look for. Bullying, especially cyber bullying is a huge factor and has become even more common in recent years.

    I do pray that God will give potential suicides a double dose of favor and strength to forego what they normally would have a hard time foregoing.

    Great post!

    • Marie on October 31, 2011 at 10:42 pm

      Indeed Katherine. Thanks for contributing.
      Marie recently posted..How To Recognize A Potential SuicideMy Profile

    • Vilma on January 30, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Howdy, suicide is a huge problem in many parts of the world today. It’s good to have tips you know things to look out for because really suicide affects every color, class and creed.

      Also, there’s no doubt that your blog may be having browser compatibility problems.
      Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues.
      I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that,
      excellent website!

  5. Justin Germino on November 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Few things are more tragic than a loved one that hurts themselves or is driven to take their own life. Nothing can be that bad to justify ending it that way, the signs can be very subtle and speaking as a parent it is imperative that you routinely scan your kids/teens social media, email and texts for signs of potential issues which could lead to such problems.

    This is truly a horrific thing.
    Justin Germino recently posted..SocialSpark Brings SocialSpark DealsMy Profile

    • Marie on November 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      Very valid points Justin! When it comes to kids, especially teens we have to monitor them on and offline. Teenage years are so delicate, and a time when their peers opinion is more valuable to them than their parents/caregivers. They tend to hide a lot from parents but reveal a lot more to their peers.

      Some may say it is prying, but I agree with you that it is compulsory to check their contact media, as it is our responsibility to keep them safe.

      Suicide should never be an option; however, when many people feels overwhelmed or depressed suicide becomes the easy way to escape it all. It is a very common occurrence yet one we hardly hear much about.

      Thanks for your contribution.
      Marie recently posted..How To Recognize A Potential SuicideMy Profile

  6. Sayed on November 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Hey Marie,

    My first time here today, visited through the link you left on my blog. I gotta say very nice blog, love the colors and how its organized.

    Not sure if anyone else experienced this but I think you have a Sharebar plugin activated on the left side of the screen and I can only see 5% of it. We cant click on the icons because its shifted all the way to the left side of the screen.

    I use Sharebar too and there is an option in the settings where you can control the range and how far you want it from the text. It took me a while to set mine up, but was perfect since then.

    I just noticed that you have Sharebar on the top of the page too, but when you scroll down, it will appear on the left, that’s where the problem starts.

    Take Care Marie. :)
    Sayed recently posted..SwagBucks: Another Way Of Making Money OnlineMy Profile

    • Marie on November 6, 2011 at 9:20 am

      Thanks for stopping by Sayed! I worked very hard to get this site customized the way I want it, to match my static site. The side sharebar is the last thing I have added last week, and to date is not yet perfected. Working on it :)
      Marie recently posted..How To Recognize A Potential SuicideMy Profile

  7. John on November 6, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Suicide is very unfortunate, too many people are hurt by it. Wish there was a way to stop all suicides from happening; nontheless, I am sure we can limit the number. Reach out to someone, shoot them a smile, let your loved ones know how much you care. Be there for them!

    • Marie on November 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm

      Indeed John! We have to educate ourselves about the signs to look for; be ready to help in the way we can, and if needed, get them professional help. I believe this would get the suicide rate down a great deal.

      Thanks for sharing.
      Marie recently posted..How To Recognize A Potential SuicideMy Profile

  8. edmond0925 on November 8, 2011 at 11:20 am

    These are really helpful advice on this matter. Hope you get to spread this post everywhere! Keep up the good work!
    edmond0925 recently posted..My Diet IdeasMy Profile

    • Marie on November 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      Thank you Edmond! This is such a touchy and melancholic topic. It is important for each of us to do our part in helping to terminate depression which is one of the leading cause of suicide.

      If we are mindful of our loved ones, and make ourselves available and easier to talk to, we can make a huge impact on bringing the suicide rate down.

      Sometimes, all it takes is a listening ear of someone deemed trustworthy.
      Marie recently posted..How To Recognize A Potential SuicideMy Profile

  9. Jasper on November 17, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Hi Marie! This is indeed a melancholic topic. I have heard and read from the news that most teenagers nowadays have the suicidal tendencies. Because at this age, they are the most emotional and can be influenced easily by their environment. Thanks for posting such informative topic. I hope parents can read this, so that they can guide their children.
    Jasper recently posted..My Arowana Is Not Eating No Matter What I Do !!!My Profile

    • Marie on November 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm

      Hello Jasper, teenage years are very delicate, as this is a time when teenagers search for an identity. As you have rightly said, they are more easily influenced during this time by their peers, who are usually trying to find their identity too and may not make decisions that are right for them.

      Parents and guardians have to make a conscious effort to monitor them, and also keep the lines of communication open. We can keep suicide to a minimum if we lend a listening ear when needed, and be attentive at all times.

      Thanks for your input!
      Marie recently posted..How To Use A Prescription Drug SafelyMy Profile

  10. Marie on November 18, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Anna, we all have to do our part in this process to end or at least lessen the likelihood of a suicide occurring. I believe we each can try to be more involved, observant, and willing to step up to the plate and help if we can or seek professional help on their behalf.

    Many people who got to the point of suicide did not have anyone observing or looking out for them. Also, if we know the signs to look for, we will be better able to act.
    Marie recently posted..How To Use A Prescription Drug SafelyMy Profile

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