Eight out of ten people considering suicide give some sign of their intentions. People who talk about suicide, threaten suicide or call suicide crisis centers are 30 times more likely to kill themselves (MHA).
Why Would Someone Attempt Suicide?
An attempt at suicide is a direct sign that something is going immensely wrong in someone’s life. It is proven that most people who die from suicide are suffering from an emotional or mental disorder, whether it be treated or untreated.
Significant life events such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, a move to a new area, and even a breakup with a girlfriend or boyfriend can bring on symptoms of depression. Stress also can be a factor, and because teen years can be a time of emotional and social turmoil, things that are difficult for anyone to handle can be devastating to a teen. One of the biggest causes of depression can be the birth of a child, sometimes leading to postpartum depression. Also, chronic illness can contribute to depression, as can the side effects of certain medicines or infections.
“The most common underlying disorder is depression, 30% to 90% of suicide victims suffer from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder” (MHA).
- Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 1% of all deaths
- More years of life are lost to suicide than to any other single cause except heart disease and cancer
- 30,000 Americans die by suicide each year; an additional 500,000 Americans attempt suicide annually
- The actual ratio of attempts to completed suicides is probably at least 10 to 1
- 30% to 40% of persons who complete suicide have made a previous attempt
Warning Signs about Suicide Contemplation
These are not direct, sure signs that someone is contemplating suicide, but are very often a cry for help from someone close to him or her.
- Verbal suicide threats: “You’d be better off without me.” or “Maybe I won’t be around”
- Expressions of hopelessness or helplessness
- Previous suicide attempts
- Daring or risk-taking behavior
- Personality changes
- Giving away prized possessions
- Lack of interest in future plans
Action to Take if You Believe Someone is Considering Suicide
- Trust your instincts about the potential danger
- Talk with the person about your concerns about their ideas
- Ask direct questions without being judgmental
- Determine if there is a specific plan to carry out the suicide
- Get professional help, even if the person resists
- Do not leave the person alone
- Do not swear to secrecy
- Do not counsel the person yourself
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
This will connect you with a crisis center in your area.