Education & Support

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Risk of Suicide

Dealing with thoughts of suicide can be tough, but reaching out for help or talking to friends and family can make a big difference.

In 2021, about 45,979 people died by suicide in the USA, according to the CDC and NIMH. These thoughts often start with comments like “I wish I wasn’t here” or “Nothing matters.” Over time, they can become more dangerous.

Recognizing the Signs:

  • Using more alcohol and drugs.
  • Acting aggressively.
  • Avoiding friends, family, and community.
  • Frequent mood swings.
  • Doing impulsive or risky things.
  • Suicidal thoughts are a psychiatric emergency.
  • Other signs might include hoarding pills or getting weapons, giving away belongings, sorting out affairs, or saying goodbye to loved ones.

If you’re unsure about someone’s mental state, a licensed mental health professional can offer guidance.

Understanding Risk Factors:
Research shows that 46% of people who die by suicide have a known mental health issue. Different factors can lead to suicidal thoughts, such as:

  • A family history of suicide.
  • Drug use, can worsen moods.
  • Intoxication, as alcohol, is often involved.
  • Access to firearms.
  • Severe or chronic illnesses.
  • Gender, with men being more likely to die by suicide.
  • Trauma or abuse history.
  • Long-term stress.
  • Recent tragedy or loss.
  • Seeking Help in a Crisis.

During a suicide crisis, friends and family can feel overwhelmed. The person’s behavior may change suddenly.

Here’s what to do in a crisis:

  • Talk openly and honestly. Ask questions like, “Do you have a plan to end your life?”
  • Remove things they could harm themselves with.
  • Ask simple questions, like “Can I help you contact your therapist?”
  • One person should speak at a time.
  • Show your support and concern.
  • Avoid arguing, threatening, or shouting.
  • Don’t debate the morality of suicide.

Being patient is important. Addressing a mental health crisis, like suicidal thoughts, is crucial. There’s no clear way to get out of it.

If someone you care about has daily thoughts of suicide, let them know they can talk to you. Be open and compassionate. Instead of arguing or dismissing their feelings, listen and reflect on what they’re saying. Let them know mental health professionals are trained to help. Therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy can help them understand their feelings and build resilience. Suicidal thoughts can improve over time. There’s hope, and suicide isn’t the answer.