If You See the Warning Signs of Suicide…

  • Every 40 seconds somewhere around the world someone dies by suicide, that’s 99 people every 66 minutes.
  • Alcohol makes people more prone to committing suicide by violent methods like hanging, using a firearm or by falling to death, says a new study. Nearly, one-fourth of all suicide cases studied reported that the victim had blood alcohol levels of at least 0.08 g/dL.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, and the fourth leading cause of death among 25 to 44-year-olds in the United States. Only 20 percent of the population is over 60, but 40 percent of suicide victims come from this age group. After age 75, the rate is three times higher than average, and among white men over 80, it is six times higher than average.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 1 percent of all deaths. More years of life are lost to suicide than to any other single cause except heart disease and cancer.
  • On average,there is one death from suicide every 85 minutes across the UK and Ireland. In 2009 there were over 6,200 deaths by suicide across the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • 18 American veterans kill themselves a day.
  • 1,000 former soldiers receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs attempt suicide every month.
  • More Veterans are completing suicide than are dying in combat overseas.
  • In 2005, over 6,200 veterans completed suicide-120 per week.
  • 70% of people who die by suicide tell someone about it in advance, and most are not in treatment

Suicide hurts all of us—parents, children, siblings, friends, lovers and spouses. The loss for society is psychological, spiritual, and financial. Understanding suicide requires looking at all of the factors that underlie this complex and intensely emotional issue and applying logic and reason, even in the face of sadness and despair.

A study of people who nearly died in a suicide attempt were asked:

“How much time passed between the time you decided to complete suicide and when you actually attempted suicide?” (Simon 2001)

• 24% said less than five minutes

• Another 47% said an hour or less

Although some people who die by suicide plan their act carefully, many don’t. In fact, many take their lives within 24 hours of a crisis—like an argument with a family member or a relationship break-up.

Know What to Do

Stigma associated with mental illnesses can prevent people from getting help. Your willingness to talk about mental or emotional issues and suicide with a friend, family member, or co-worker can be the first step in getting them help and preventing suicide.

If You See the Warning Signs of Suicide…

Begin a dialogue by asking questions. Suicidal thoughts are common with some mental illnesses and your willingness to talk about it in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way can be the help a person needs to seeking professional help. Questions okay to ask:

  • “Do you ever feel so badly that you think about suicide?”
  • “Do you have a plan to commit suicide or take your life?”
  • “Have you thought about when you would do it (today, tomorrow, next week)?”
  • “Have you thought about what method you would use?”

Asking these questions will help you to determine if your friend or family members is in immediate danger, and get help if needed. A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately.  Remember, always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously.

Never keep a plan for suicide a secret. Don’t worry about risking a friendship if you truly feel a life is in danger. You have bigger things to worry about-someone’s life might be in danger! It is better to lose a relationship from violating a confidence than it is to go to a funeral. And most of the time they will come back and thank you for saving their life.

Don’t try to minimize problems or shame a person into changing their mind. Your opinion of a person’s situation is irrelevant. Trying to convince a person suffering with a mental illness that it’s not that bad, or that they have everything to live for may only increase their feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Reassure them that help is available, that what they are experiencing is treatable, and that suicidal feelings are temporary. Life can get better!

If you feel the person isn’t in immediate danger, acknowledge the pain is legitimate and offer to work together to get help. Make sure you follow through. This is one instance where you must be tenacious in your follow-up. Help find a doctor or a mental health professional, participate in making the first phone call, or go along to the first appointment. If you’re in a position to help, don’t assume that your persistence is unwanted or intrusive. Risking your feelings to help save a life is a risk worth taking. (Save.org)

Dr. Nicholas Jenner is a Counseling psychologist in private practice working with individuals, couples, groups and companies. Apart from seeing clients face-to-face, Dr Jenner also runs a thriving online therapy business bringing help to those who are housebound or located in rural locations where therapy is difficult to find. He can be booked for online sessions from anywhere in the world. First consultation free. For more information , follow the link to his website HERE

Want to know more about Dr Nicholas Jenner? Check out what his clients say….HERE

  11 comments for “If You See the Warning Signs of Suicide…

  1. The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)
    August 6, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Great but extremely sad post for me. Suicide is… I don’t know how to explain… It’s such a heavy thing, physically and emotionally, it drags you down, like 2 bricks on your shoulders.

    It’s still on my mind about the young guy that committed suicide here in the hospital past week. Things are triggering me and I have a ton of questions going around in my head about it. Two patients found him, and if that was me, I don’t know how I’d deal with it. Just brings tears to my eyes.

  2. August 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Sad post, but very necessary. It is so important for people to read this and be aware. This is where my blog works for me often, when the depression sets in really bad I start writing, because I know that is a way of letting the feelings out and ridding myself of dark thoughts. I have found so much understanding and kind words on the blog, when I expect people to tell me to pull myself together, the don’t, they leave kind comments… Thank you for posting this.

  3. August 7, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Thanks for your comments. I know for many people, this is an extremely difficult topic. It is one that I felt compelled to write about in the last few weeks. I hope it goes someway to raising awareness.

  4. August 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    As much as I miss my fabulous sister, and wish she’d killed her nasty ex instead of herself, I don’t think that suicide is the problem, I think that what LEADS to suicide is the problem. I think many many people who do resort to killing themselves have valid reasons to, and that it’s a reasonable decision to make in many situations. It’s the people who’ve been made so miserable by the world/life that they’re too sad to live who need help. Not help avoiding suicide. Just the help and support of the rest of us. From first hand experience I can say that true understanding of the mind of a suicide and truly helpful intervention in their lives is what’s lacking in society. They prefer to call suicides “selfish” (as my psychotherapist ex did about my sister) and think selfishly about it. People suicide for a reason. The disease isn’t suicide, it’s all to often life.

    • August 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      This is a concrete example of how suicide and suicidal thoughts are treated by many people and many in the helping professions. It is very easy to label someone selfish for taking their own life without trying to understand what lead someone to make that final decision. I think it is correct that it is often the things that happened in a person’s life can cause the suicide but I also believe that in many cases it is one single event which pushes them over the edge. If you are confused about whether you want to live or die..this can make the difference.

  5. August 7, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    I appreciate you writing this post. You hit a lot of major points. It’s so easy for society to label people with mental illnesses and people who ultimately take their own life. Society doesn’t always understand the dynamics involving suicide. I have been to the door of suicide numerous times. It wasn’t until i began to get help that I realized I didn’t want to die, I just thought that was only way to end my pain. Things build up but it can be that one thing that pushes one over. I appreciate you trying to educate people on suicide. How to help and how to prevent it. Good post.

    • August 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks for the comment and I am glad you came through. This is often what people find hard to believe. Suicidal people often do not want to die but are confused about whether to live or die.

  6. August 27, 2012 at 6:45 am

    There needs to be more awareness. I had a situation of a young person experiencing suicidal thoughts recently and started to look the subject up. I was shocked to see the statisics. Schools need to offer advice to parents on this subject. Your blog looks good, I will enjoy exploring 🙂

  7. July 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Such a powerful post. Thank you. I lost my father to suicide nearly 20 years ago. My mother and my younger brother have had to be hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and behaviors in the past. I often feel helpless when it comes to helping those I love. I also want to do what I can to educate myself so that I can understand how to help my own children should they struggle with suicidal thoughts one day. Thank you again.

    • July 1, 2013 at 10:07 am

      Sorry to hear about your father and I can appreciate that you want to educate your children on the subject.

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