Prevent a loved one from committing suicide

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 2, 2018

Suicide is a major problem in today’s society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-34, and the tenth leading cause of death overall. In the United States alone, more than 40,000 people die of suicide each year.

Unfortunately, despite what many people believe, suicide rates tend to spike after the holidays and as the weather grows warmer. Suicide is a tragic response to negative circumstances and situations, and can affect the lives of close family members and friends for years. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, however, suicide is preventable. So what can be done?

The first step is to determine whether a person is experiencing suicidal thoughts. There are several signs and symptoms to watch for. Some of these are obvious – such as expressing the desire to die or kill themselves, displaying extreme mood swings, or making immediate plans such as buying a gun, rope or stockpiling pills, NIMH states. There are, however, other less obvious signs that are important to look out for as well, such as increased consumption of alcohol, voluntary isolation, and changes in sleeping and eating patterns, among other things.

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If a person appears to be at risk for suicidal behavior, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline suggests confronting them and asking them directly about their plans. Be open and non-judgmental as they speak about their thoughts and feelings. If it appears that they are at immediate risk, get involved and immediately remove any objects that could be used to carry out their plan. Finally, encourage them to seek professional help. If the individual is in need of immediate care, have them call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

It is never truly possible to overcome the death of a loved one – especially by suicide.

It is, however, possible to prevent suicide from happening. Take action and be the support they so desperately need.