The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports suicide as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2010, more suicides occurred than car accident deaths. Suicide is a very serious issue – one that should not be ignored. Below are common signs that your family member or friend may be contemplating suicide, followed by a discussion on how you should respond.
Common Signs of Suicide
1. Severe depression, including an intense sadness, trouble sleeping, changing eating habits, and/or lack of interest in things that once interested him or her
2. Often talking and/or thinking about death
3. Lack of concern for own well-being, such as neglecting health, driving recklessly, and/or performing poorly at work or school
4. Increasing loss of self-esteem and/or talking about hopelessness
5. Sudden outbursts, extreme anxiousness, and/or overwhelming feelings of guilt or shame
6. Suddenly changing depressed or unhappy mood to one of peace or even happiness
7. Making comments such as, “Things would be better if I was never born” or “Life would be better for everyone if I was gone”
8. Increased use of alcohol or drugs coupled with withdrawal from family and friends
9. Suddenly making amends with “enemies” or those with whom he or she has had fights or arguments; or, visiting or calling lots of people to say goodbye or tell them he or she loves them
10. Changing a will and/or giving away possessions
How to Respond to Signs of Suicide
If your family member or friend has previously attempted suicide and displays one or more of these signs, respond immediately by asking the person about it directly, talking with the person’s parent or spouse, and suggesting medical help. If your loved one has not previously attempted suicide and you notice one of these signs, ask your loved one how they are doing and whether they have ever thought about suicide. If your loved one displays two or more of these signs, respond immediately. By first asking the person about it directly, they will appreciate the fact that you are not “sneaking behind their back” to arrange help. However, do not waste time in contacting a medical professional to evaluate the mental health of your loved one. Consider a suicide prevention center, which will work with your loved one to determine the root issues of their suicidal thoughts and to provide the tools they need to strengthen their mental health.
Salt Lake Behavioral Health is a top-rated suicide prevention center that can provide your loved one with the tools and support they need to get better. Visit or call for more information.