We all want to take suicidal warning signs very seriously. Friends talking about wanting to die or killing themselves is a telltale sign of major depression. They are also crying out for help. Talking, listening, and showing care for someone who is suicidal can help decrease those negative feelings. If you believe a suicide attempt is impending, call emergency help and do not leave the person alone.
Not all signs of suicide are apparent if you don’t know what to watch. The following are the most prominent warning signs of suicide:
Talking or Writing About Death, Dying, Harming, or Killing Themselves
Suicidal feelings can be passive, and your loved one may express them by saying, “I wish I was never born,” or “I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up.” Or they can be more direct by saying things like “If I don’t see you again…” They may seem preoccupied with death, bringing it into otherwise happy conversations. You may see more stories, drawings, or poems surrounding death and dying if they are artists. Frequently, those considering suicide won’t say so, but any warning expressions or statements should be taken seriously, even said in an offhanded way.
Isolating or Withdrawing
A friend thinking about suicide could start avoiding social engagements and friends, choosing to be alone because they feel detached. They might lose interest or pleasure in being around people they love or activities they enjoy doing. Even if they are still physically present, they could be emotionally distancing themselves, acting indifferent when they typically would be invested in what’s happening.
Seeking Access to Suicide Aids
This can be an obvious sign, like telling you they bought a gun. But it can be subtle such as stockpiling pills. Having sharp knives and razor blades lying around can also be concerning. It’s essential to take stock of potentially lethal means your loved one has access to as the risk of suicide increases with ease of access.
Recent Trauma or Life Crisis
Individuals are more likely to turn to suicide when they feel their life is too hard. A recent history of any of the following could be reason for concern:
- Recent Trauma or Life Crisis
- Trauma like Bullying, Neglect, Physical, Emotional, or Sexual Abuse
- A Mood Disorder
- Previous Suicide Attempts
- A Family History of Suicide
A breakup, divorce, job or financial loss, death of a loved one, or diagnosis of a chronic or terminal health condition could all be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back. If you know your loved one is going through a difficult time, check in with them frequently and be available for them to talk about what they are going through.
Feelings of hopelessness are often confused with sadness or the greater umbrella of depression. However, it goes beyond sadness. It is a feeling of being empty, trapped, in despair with no reason to live. Your loved one may express these feelings by saying they are a burden to you and others or that they have no way out of their overwhelming problems.
Dramatic Changes in Behavior
The signs can seem insignificant, such as sleeping more or less than usual, being less concerned with their appearance, or speaking and moving very quickly or slowly. But signs can also be extreme mood swings, frequent rage, or seeking revenge. They could also act like they have a death wish, behaving recklessly or taking unnecessary risks. They could be drastically increasing their substance use, racking up substantial bar tabs with no concern for their overall finances.
Calmness and Making Preparations
If someone has made a plan, they often experience a sudden calmness or surge of energy. They may start taking care of things that piled up: cleaning up, paying bills, fixing the leaky faucet, or even making a will. They could begin to give away prized possessions. You may think they are suddenly better. But, extreme feelings of depression don’t dissipate quickly without professional help. If they went from barely being able to get out of bed to whistling while running errands, they now have the energy to carry out their plan. You should be more worried and get them the help they need.
Often, we can help prevent suicide attempts with the right interventions. However, the ones most likely to commit suicide are those without social support who feel isolated in their emotional pain. There are suicide and crisis hotlines and text lines. If a loved one is suffering, have those readily available and saved in your phone and theirs. Offer support and get professional help.
Search for Major Depression Disorder Treatment Near Me
When dealing with someone actively suicidal, it’s important to find immediate help near you. Counselors have long waitlists, and medication can take weeks to take effect. TMS is a clinical depression treatment that’s effective for those with suicidal ideation, and there are many locations in Washington state. Providing readily available options for treatment makes it an easier step for them.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Have treatment options and national suicide hotline text and phone numbers prepped before your depressed loved ones start exhibiting these warning signs. Suicide is a growing problem that is hard to detect until it’s too late. Take the time to check in with your friends and family regularly, be available to listen, and always take what they say seriously. Helping them express their feelings can give some relief. You cannot fix their problems, but you can help support them as they work through them.
Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Have a support network established to talk about your feelings, so you don’t get too weighed down and end up in crisis.