SUICIDE

 The act of intentionally causing one’s own death is called suicide. Suicidal behavior refers to talking about or taking actions related to ending one’s own life. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors should be considered a psychiatric emergency.

Warning signs that a person may commit suicide include:

  • talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, or alone
  • saying they have no reason to go on living
  • making a will or giving away personal possessions
  • searching for a means of doing personal harm, such as buying a gun
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • eating too little or eating too much, resulting in significant weight gain or loss
  • engaging in reckless behaviors, including excessive alcohol or drug consumption
  • avoiding social interactions with others
  • expressing rage or intentions to seek revenge
  • showing signs of extreme anxiousness or agitation
  • having dramatic mood swings
  • talking about suicide as a way out

Talk to someone who is feeling suicidal in the following manner:

  • stay calm and speak in a reassuring tone
  • acknowledge that their feelings are legitimate
  • offer support and encouragement
  • tell them that help is available and that they can feel better with treatment

Danger alarm:

  • putting their affairs in order or giving away their possessions
  • saying goodbyes to friends and family
  • having a mood shift from despair to calm
  • planning, looking to buy, steal, or borrow the tools to complete a suicide, such as a firearm or medication

Help the person by:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

Factors that increase the risk of suicide:

  • incarceration
  • mental illness
  • previous attempts and self-harm
  • psychoocial factors
  • poor job security or low levels of job satisfaction
  • history of being abused or witnessing continuous abuse
  • being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, such as cancer or HIV
  • being socially isolated or a victim of bullying or harassment
  • substance use disorder
  • childhood abuse or trauma
  • family history of suicide
  • previous suicide attempts
  • having a chronic disease
  • social loss, such as the loss of a significant relationship
  • loss of a job
  • access to lethal means, including firearms and drugs
  • being exposed to suicide
  • difficulty seeking help or support
  • lack of access to mental health or substance use treatment
  • following belief systems that accept suicide as a solution to personal problems

People are at risk because of the following:

  • medications
  • mental health
  • substance abuse

Treatment of people at risk:

  • talk therapy
  • medications ( antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, anti-anxiety medications)
  • avoiding alcohol and drugs
  • sleeping well
  • exercising regularly

Ways to prevent suicidal thoughts:

  • talk to someone
  • take medications as directed
  • never skip an appointment
  • pay attention to warning signs
  • eliminate access to lethal methods of suicide

WHO recommends four key interventions which have proven to be effective:

  • restricting access to means
  • working with the media to ensure responsible reporting of suicide.
  • helping young people develop skills to cope with life’s pressures
  • early identification and management of people who are thinking about suicide or who have made a suicide attempt, keeping follow-up contact in the short and longer-term