Not all warning signs of suicide are easy to pinpoint, and they can often be subtle. However, having the ability to spot the warning signs may lead to a loved one or friend getting the professional help they need. The important thing to know is suicide can be prevented, and communicating how you’re feeling is one of the best ways to prevent it. That isn’t always easy for someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts, so noticing certain behaviors, risk factors, and warning signs are crucial.
Before someone may even begin to exhibit signs of suicidal behavior, there are some other factors that tend to coincide with suicidal warning signs. Some of the known risks that make a person more likely to harm themselves include the following:
- Experienced stressful life event or trauma
- Substance abuse problems
- Prior suicide attempt
- Financial problems
- Legal problems
- Mental health conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders
- Family history of mental health conditions or suicide
While there isn’t always one universal behavior for those with suicidal thoughts, some typical warning signs are easily observable.
- Sudden change in behavior
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Reckless or self-destructive behavior
- Withdrawal from social contact
- Talking about dying or feeling hopeless
- Acquiring means to take their life
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), eight out of 10 individuals considering suicide show a warning sign, in one way or another, of their intention to harm themselves.
What Do I Do If I Notice These Warning Signs?
One of the best things to do when you suspect someone is suicidal is simply ask. Encouraging them to communicate and do their best to verbalize what they are thinking and feeling will lead you to take the next steps in finding them help. It is a common misconception that asking people about suicidal thoughts will prompt them to act on their thoughts. Being able to share what they are feeling out loud without judgment can help reduce the risk that they will act on their suicidal thoughts and realize help is out there.
Urge them to seek professional help. They may lack the motivation or energy to do it on their own. In this case, try to help them get in touch with a mental health professional, a doctor, a faith community, a support group, or a crisis center.
If you think someone is in immediate danger of harming themselves or taking their own life, don’t leave them alone. Inform a close family member or friend of what is going on. Encourage the person having suicidal thoughts to call the suicide hotline at 988.
You should always take these warning signs seriously. Having the ability to spot these warning signs and take the proper action could save the life of someone you love.
Seeking Professional Help | Seneca Health Services
We are passionate about healing our community, and our team is ready to help.
At Seneca Health Services, we have over 40 years of experience providing behavioral health services throughout southeastern West Virginia. We offer crisis assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every year to assist and support individuals, arrange and coordinate treatment services, and ensure that all of your basic needs are met.
If you’d like to learn more about our services, contact Seneca Health at 888.SENECA9 or use the link provided. We know it’s hard to take the first step –– let us help.