An estimated 1 million Americans attempt suicide each year. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Ninety percent of people who committed suicide had treatable mental health disorders that went unnoticed. Suicides can be prevented if signs associated with the mental health disorder are recognized and addressed immediately.
There are several signs that may indicate that a person is suffering from a mental health issue and is contemplating suicide. If someone you know exhibits the following behaviors, do not dismiss them as a passing phase:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Changes in sleep patterns; which can either be excessive sleep or a deprivation of sleep
- Irritability or anger
- Talking about harming themselves
- Loss of interest in daily activities or things they were once passionate about
- Reckless behavior
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- A preoccupation with death
- Getting their affairs in order in preparation for death
- Verbalizing thoughts such as “ Everyone will be better without me” or “I have nothing to live for”
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
These actions are a cry for help. It is important to let your loved one know that you have recognized changes in their behavior, they are not alone and you are there to support them through this difficult time. Speak openly about what they are feeling and ensure them they will not be judged because they feel suicidal. Seek the help of a mental health professional immediately. Insist on accompanying this person to their consultation or treatment. Continue to demonstrate your support during treatment by reminding them to take prescribed medications, keeping up with physician appointments and encouraging a positive lifestyle.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or demonstrating suicidal behaviors, get help immediately. Call 911, 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.