Recognizing The Signs That Someone is Contemplating Suicide
Mental health issues such as depression affect a growing number of the population. According to the CDC, roughly 4.7% of Americans live with regular depression. While depression is not the only cause of suicide, it is often one of the most commonly cited. Many people who lost loved ones to suicide didn’t recognize the signs ahead of time. Below, we will discuss some of the more common signs that someone might be considering suicide, and how you can possibly help prevent it.
Risk Factors for Suicidal Thoughts
Some people are at a higher risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts. While anyone can experience these, especially during times of extreme pain or grief, it is important to understand that some of your loved ones may be more likely to experience them.
Mental Health Conditions and Suicide
Many individuals living with mental health conditions are at a greater risk of suicide. This can be from internal factors, such as their condition or medication side effects. However, exterior stimuli, such as the stigmas surrounding mental illness, can contribute. Mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and more can contribute to their suicidal risk factors.
Environmental Risk Factors
Generally, some environmental factors may leave some people at risk of succumbing to suicide. If one has access to lethal means, such as a firearm or drugs, they are more at risk of enacting those thoughts. Prolonged stress, from work, bullying, harassment, financial issues, and more can also increase this risk. Stressful life events, like divorce, the loss of a loved one, a financial crisis, and other transitional events can contribute. Lastly, exposure to another individual’s suicide, or a graphic event leading to loss of life, may increase the risk of contemplating suicide.
Suicide and LGBTQ+ Individuals
Members of the LGBTQ+ community are generally at a higher risk of suicidal thoughts. According to a 2022 study by the Trevor Project, an advocacy group, 45% of all LGBTQ+ youth in America contemplate suicide. Over 60% of those individuals say that their families aren’t accepting of their gender or sexual orientation. Furthermore, almost 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth attempted suicide.
This is often due to bullying, harassment, stress, and not feeling safe. Those with supportive friends and family are much less likely to experience suicidal thoughts. Families that support and accept their children, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, are more likely to reduce these risk factors.
Non-Verbal Signs That Someone Is Contemplating Suicide
There are many potential signs that one might be contemplating suicide. Generally, if you notice a pattern of behaviors regarding multiple of these, then it is possible that your loved one is thinking about it. While these are not telltale signs, the pattern of behavior could suggest a need for intervention and support.
- Anger and/or aggression
- Changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia
- Changes in eating habits
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressive behaviors
- Fears or worries about the health or financial security of loved ones
- Giving away treasured possessions
- Increased tobacco, alcohol, or another substance usage
- Withdrawing from otherwise common activities
- Worsening chronic health issues
If your loved one is expressing these signs, they may be considering suicide. These signs can be especially noticeable when brought on as a result of significant loss, changes in lifestyle, or after a painful event. If your loved one is showing these signs, consider calling the suicide prevention hotline for resources in your area that may be able to help them.
Verbal Indicators of Suicidal Thoughts
In addition to the above signs, some people may say things that indicate that they are contemplating suicide. This may include discussing feeling trapped or hopeless, being a burden to others, or being in immeasurable pain. They may also mention not having a reason to live. Some may outright discuss killing themselves. If your loved one is exhibiting these signs, consider calling the suicide prevention hotline for resources in your area that may be able to help them.
Suicide Prevention Resources
A supportive network of friends and family can help reduce suicide risk. Try to educate friends and family of your loved one on ways to help support them, and reduce suicidal thoughts. You can also call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. They provide free and confidential support for those contemplating suicide. They also provide prevention and crisis resources for concerned friends or family members. Their website also provides additional resources as well, including those for individuals of different groups, such as veterans and the LGBTQ+. You can even find professional help in your area, including therapists or counselors.
The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are several resources out there. For our Grief Resource Center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here.
For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.