Suicide statistics can be alarming. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has found that an average of 112 Americans commit suicide every day, and it is the second most prevalent cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24. The thoughts that lead someone to want to end their life can feel debilitating and hopeless, but suicide is preventable. If you notice signs of suicidal behavior in someone, you can take steps to prevent a needless death. Someone showing these behaviors can feel better if they get counseling. People working in the social work profession have special training that enables them to help people see that there are alternatives to suicide.
Someone contemplating suicide usually shows outward signs that other people can notice. You might notice their personality changing. A person might withdraw from friends and family, talking and smiling less. Some people begin sleeping more or less, and their appetite often changes, too. Interest in hobbies and activities usually lessens, and a depressed person may stop taking care of their appearance. It's not unusual for a suicidal person to actually make direct statements about their suicidal thoughts. If you hear talk or even threats about death and dying, consider these statements to be serious and tell an adult about it. Some people also begin acting aggressively toward others when they feel suicidal.
Preventing suicide involves staying connected with people who may be struggling. Depression can lead to feelings of isolation and despair. People may also turn to drugs or alcohol when they feel depressed, which can also raise the risk of suicide. For some people, a stressful event such as the death of a family member or a breakup can lead them to contemplate suicide. Watching for potentially dangerous suicide signs is the first step in preventing this loss of life. With intervention, a suicidal person can receive counseling, which can help with the overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Some people feel better after therapy, while others also need medication to help ease the depression. As the hopelessness eases, a suicidal person will realize that death is not the answer.
Getting help is the second crucial step for preventing suicide. It's important to take all of warning signs, especially talk and threats about suicide, very seriously. Someone who talks about having no reason to live or who mentions looking for methods of suicide needs immediate help. Don't leave a person in this situation alone. You can ask the person if they feel suicidal or if they have a plan for ending their life. Removing access to items the person could use for a suicide attempt is also important. Get help right away from a parent, a teacher, a physician, or another responsible adult. Don't ever promise to keep a secret about self-harm or suicide, and try not to act shocked about it. Avoid arguing with the person, too. You could call a suicide crisis line or a professional working in the counseling or social work field. Calling 911 is also an option in an emergency.
Awareness and Assistance
A number of groups and organizations exist to raise awareness of suicide, which can help prevent this tragedy. Calling a crisis line can lead you to volunteers who offer their time to help others struggling with suicidal thoughts. These volunteers can also help you if you are trying to help someone else who is suicidal. Not only does suicide end the life of someone needlessly, but it also leaves behind grieving family and friends who must cope with the senseless loss.