Signs of Having Suicidal Tendencies, The Staggering Stats and How You Can Support the Suicidal
I have recently been going through a hard period in my life where I am trying to support, love and be there for someone that I love. She has been dealing with thoughts of suicide and been through treatment for a couple of months now and I certainly hope that it is helping. The hard part for me, is that I didn't see the warning signs, until it was almost too late. She was admitted to a lock-down unit in a mental hospital and has been there, fighting to get better ever since. When I heard the news of her admission, I felt just as desperate and lost as what I imagined her feeling.
Thank goodness now, there is a light at the end of tunnel for her situation. She was desperate and felt so alone but now she is getting the help and the support that she needs to recover and start feeling human again. She dealt with pain beyond pain and was never able to get any relief until recently. By taking the proper medications, daily counseling and the her own will power to strive to get better,she is beginning to feel better. I am so proud of her and am thankful that she did not commit suicide.
A Great Song Portraying Someone Dealing with Mental Illness
According to the Institute of Family and Marriage, of Canada, updated last in 2009, for each completed suicide there are 100 attempts, and over 23,000 Canadians are hospitalized each year for a suicide attempt. Another staggering stat is that according to WHO, the world health organization, every 40 seconds someone commits suicide with success. That is double to the amount of people that are killed as a result of war each year(that number being 306,600/yearly). And yet another stat that boggles the mind, is that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 44. The months that tend to be the "suicidal months" are in late July and August. Some studies have suggested that this is because of the change in season.
So my question is, were there warning signs that are prevalent when someone is contemplating suicide? There often is some warning signs, but they may be very subtle and not noticeable to someone that is not suspicious of suicide.
Physical symptoms that they may have are:
- Pain that threatens to overwhelm the person and that that threatens to exceed their coping abilities. This may be because of a lack of pain medication or because of new pain and or the onset of new health problems.
- Social isolation. They may isolate themselves, it may be a lack of interest in daily activities because of the depression.
- Hopelessness and powerlessness while dealing with daily living. They may be coping with other health issues that are not being resolved due to lack of proper medical care.
People that have thoughts of suicide may make off colour remarks or comments about:
not wanting to be around anymore
not needing to worry about financial affairs in the future
stating that others would be better off without them
stating that they feel a burden
They may also start a plan of action which could include the following:
giving away valuables
giving you extra attention, stating that they love you, to the effect of saying their good-byes
getting financial worries in order
creating or changing a will
talking about when they are gone
Who is at risk for committing suicide?
Most often the person that is contemplating suicide will have been struggling with depression and may have been for a number of years. They may try to mask their symptoms and self-medicate by using a number of methods, such as alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs, or even with food or a lack there-of. If they have suffered before from PTD (post traumatic stress disorder, then they most certainly are at risk of having mixed up, anxious and/or self-loathing thoughts. If you feel that they are losing touch with reality, suspicious, anxious and talking of death excessively, these are all excellent indicators. If they have been dealing with a family or friend that has passed away or a divorce or separation, they are at risk. If they have been suffering from an illness that is causing pain or other ailments, they are at risk. If they have recently lost their job, home, children, status or self-esteem, they are at risk. Another risk factor is if the depressed person has been on and off of anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications or changing doses regularly. Interestingly, the side effects of these medications is an increased desire to commit suicide.
Ways You Can Help a Suicidal Person
Please note: It can be hard to support someone, if they do not want your support. They may blame you or blame others for their actions, each circumstance is different and should be treated that way.
- Offer your support and love to the person that is feeling suicidal and to those that have attempted suicide. Be a support, a shoulder to lean on. By doing this you are offering to help with activities that they might need help with. This could be anything from getting groceries to keeping them company every once in a while.
- Be a shoulder to cry on. Listen to what they have to say, really listen. Offer your incite and if you aren't sure or don't have any incite into the matter, just listen.
- Educate yourself and try to seek counseling for yourself if you need to. Suicidal thoughts stem from depression and their feelings are their symptoms.
- Respect and let them feel safe to express themselves, without ridicule or judgment.
- Encourage a mental health professionals assistance and offer to go with them for a meeting.
- Remember that suicidal behavior is a cry for help
- Do not leave them alone if they state that they are going to commit suicide. Seek professional help. That may just to call 911.
If you, as the supporter, feel that you are at a lose and that they are going to go ahead with plans of suicide, you can contact 911 and they will give you the best advise and send medical help immediately.
Suicide hurts everyone involved. The person that has or is thinking of committing suicide, whether they want to or not, is hurting all of those around them. The common perception of the person that is committing suicide is that no one cares and everyone will be better off without them. But that is just not true. Everyone is precious alive! Killing yourself is killing. Desperate situations may make them feel that there is no alternative but there is always an alternative. Speak to your doctor, nurse, mental health practitioner, family member, friend and try to make sense of your feelings. Make a plan of action. List how you can help yourself and what choices you have in order to feel better. Most often the feelings will pass and you will begin to feel better, unless you need to seek medical care. Being a loving supporter is not the ideal situation but life is not an ideal situation either. We all have our struggles, regardless of appearances on the outside and it will be all the better if we can lean on each other.