Suicide

Two people sitting. Person with hand on man's shoulder, man with hands covering part of his face.

If you or someone you know is in crisis right now, call 911, go to the nearest hospital, or call the National Suicide Prevention line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There are people willing and ready to help you or your loved one.

Suicide attempts are not driven by a single motivation for everyone. For some, suicide is seen as the only solution to chronic emotional or physical pain. Other times, a person may feel overwhelmed and unable to resolve negative life events. For others, a suicide attempt may be a means of communicating to others their severe suffering and the seriousness of their need. Many times, a person who is contemplating suicide is living with a mental health condition, such as depression or bipolar disorder. All suicide attempts should be taken seriously, and appropriate help should be sought for the person.

Suicide is on the rise globally, accounting for nearly one million deaths annually. The suicide rate has increased by over 30% in the last 20 years, and in 2016, suicide became the 2nd leading cause of death among ages 10-341. Over the past decade, the rates of children hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or behaviors have doubled.

These rising suicide rates call on each of us to pay closer attention to how the people we know and love are coping with life. Just because someone’s life appears to be good on the outside doesn’t mean all is well in their more private moments.

Suicide Warning Signs


Can include statements like:

  • “I want to kill myself”
  • “I wish I were dead”
  • “I feel hopeless”
  • “There’s no reason to live”
  • “I just want the pain to end”
  • “I’m too much of a burden”
  • “I feel trapped”

Can include behaviors, such as:

  • Seeking access to means to kill oneself (pills, weapon)
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Calling others to say goodbye
  • Talking or writing about death
  • Isolating from others
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Researching ways to die by suicide

If you notice that someone is saying statements like these or starting to engage in these behaviors, it is important to ask them about how they are doing. Starting an open conversation and asking directly if someone is thinking about killing themselves does not increase the chances someone will attempt suicide and it could save their life.


Sources

  1. CDC: NCHS Data Brief No. 309, June 2018
    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db309.htm

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