Often, what appears to be a single event is actually “the last straw” when added to other stressors, depression and/or hopelessness. Suicide is the result of a long-term “wearing-away”, an erosion of a person’s ability to cope. The following Warning Signs are taken from the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program website at http://www.yellowribbon.org.
Suicide victims are not trying to end their life – they are trying to end the pain!
- Acting differently than they normally do
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
- Looking for a way to kill oneself, 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 feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Giving away possessions
- Previous Suicide Attempt
- Problems with school or the law
- Breakup of a romance
- Unexpected pregnancy
- A stressful family life. (having parents who are depressed or are substance abusers, or a family history of suicide)
- Loss of security…fear of authority, peers, group or gang members
- Stress due to new situations; college or relocating to a new community
- Failing in school or failing to pass an important test
- A serious illness or injury to oneself
- Seriously injuring another person or causing another person’s death (example: automobile accident)
- Major loss…of a loved one, a home, divorce in the family, a trauma, a relationship
How you can Help
How to Help if you think someone is thinking of hurting or killing themselves:
- DON’T be afraid to ask “Are you thinking about hurting or killing yourself?”
- Asking does NOT plant the idea but it DOES give the person a chance to talk about their feelings and take some of the power out of how they feel so they can get help.
- DO take a “Yes” answer seriously and take steps to support and help.
- DO stay with the person and get someone to help with the situation—a counselor, teacher, pastor, community therapist.
- DO NOT try to handle the problem with the suicidal person yourself—make sure a caring adult professional is notified.