When loneliness and despair overwhelms an individual, dark thoughts of suicide may seem like the only solution. But if we come together as a community and learn about suicide prevention, we can help break this behavior in ourselves and others by being mindful of warning signs.
Recent sad headlines, like the tragedy surrounding Kansas City Chiefs NFL starter, Jovan Belcher, and the sad story of U.K. nurse Jacintha Saldanha and the royal prank, have started global discussions about suicide. And more people have started to take mindful action.
According to the CDC, nearly 37,000 Americans took their own life in 2009. And unfortunately, worldwide figures are far worst. The World Health Organization reports that 900,000 people around the world commit suicide each year. It’s the third worldwide leading cause of death among those aged 15-44 years.
There are many causes of suicide including burdening thoughts and possible genetic links. Many people who commit suicide don’t want to die. They usually feel that this is the only solution to their pain. Those who truly consider suicide usually do because they feel that they’re beyond hope and have no worth.
There are numerous factors of suicide attempts. Mayo Clinic lists some factors like alcohol/drug abuse problems, being a victim of bullying, failed romantic relationships, family history of suicide attempts, history of physical or sexual abuse, job loss, and the death of a loved one. Other risk factors include a family history of anxiety, depression or other mental disorders.
WebMD lists numerous warnings signs for suicidal children/teens, adults and older adults. Some of these signs include sudden life changes like giving away personal possessions, problems at school, risk-taking behavior, social isolation, and being preoccupied with discussions about death.
Suicide Prevention Tips
If you or someone you know is overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts consider the following tips.
- Calling for help. If you’re in the middle of an emergency, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) immediately.
- Investing in therapy. It’s said that cognitive therapy helps suicide attempters consider alternate actions and “reduced the rate of repeated suicide attempts by 50 percent.”
- Taking medications. Your doctor may suggest drugs for you or your loved one like antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Do thorough research on these drugs.
- Developing support systems. Taking the time to talk and listen to others, bonding with family and friends, or joining a support group can make a great difference.