You can now connect with mental health counselors across the country by using a 988 dialing code, the new three-digit suicide and crisis lifeline, to call, text or chat. Like 911 operators assist with medical, safety or fire emergencies, the new 988 lifeline service providers will help people experiencing mental distress.
In America, suicide is unfortunately one of the top causes of death. In 2019 alone there were 47,511 suicide deaths, according to the CDC. Also, many more individuals have been struggling with mental health the last few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tragedy of suicide extends beyond the person whose life was cut short. Friends and family members left behind greatly suffer as well.
Knowing the warning signs of suicide is an important step in helping to keep your loved ones safe.
What are the warning signs of suicide?
There are many different factors that can cause suicide. Certain conditions that increase the risk include physical illness, substance problems, financial burdens, losing a loved one, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, to name a few.
The consistent emotion with suicide is hopelessness. Regardless of the circumstances, a person contemplating this action feels there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Here are common warning signs of suicide to look out for:
- Acting anxious
- Being in unbearable pain
- Feeling like there is no reason to live
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Talking about wanting to die or killing oneself
- Giving away possessions
How do I talk to a loved one about suicide?
There is no doubt that suicide is a difficult subject to bring up and discuss with a loved one. However, it could help save their life.
It is most important to listen during your conversation. Give your friend or family member a chance to express their negative feelings as it might provide them some relief. Be supportive and don’t judge what they are saying.
Struggling to start the conversation? Try starting by saying, “I have been worried about you lately and have noticed some changes in your behavior; you don’t seem like yourself. Is something bothering you?”
Here are some other questions to ask your loved one:
- What happened that made you start feeling this way?
- When did you begin feeling like this?
- Have you thought about getting help?
- How can I best support you right now?
When a crisis hits, you don’t always have time to do your research or react. If you or a loved one needs to talk to someone about suicide right away, dial 988 to reach the national suicide and crisis lifeline.
Learn more about the behavioral and mental health services we offer at Bon Secours.