Every year, nearly 800,000 people across the globe take their own lives, leaving friends and family members behind. That’s one person…every 40 seconds. It’s a heartbreaking and tragic event that should be taken seriously and addressed with vigilance and compassion.
Unfortunately, many times the signs of a person’s distress can be overlooked until it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to recognize the warning signs of suicide and take steps to provide help for anyone at risk. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to recognize the warning signs of suicide and what steps to take if you think someone may be in danger.
1. Changes in Behavior
One of the most common warning signs to look for in someone who may be considering suicide is changes in their behavior. This can include everything from a loss of enthusiasm for activities they once enjoyed, to appearing more withdrawn or isolated, to changes in their eating or sleeping habits. It’s important to look for any sudden or subtle shifts in their normal patterns of behavior.
2. Talking About Death
If someone begins talking about death or expressing a desire to die, this should be taken as a red flag. This can range from making comments about wanting to end their life, to talking in a morbid fashion about death in general. These conversations can occur in various contexts, but it’s important to take them seriously.
3. Risk Taking
Another sign to look out for is an increase in risk-taking behavior. This can include activities such as drinking heavily, using drugs, or engaging in dangerous activities. This can be a sign of wanting to escape from one’s current situation or, in the worst cases, a sign of wanting to hasten one’s death.
It’s important to be aware of sudden changes in a person’s behavior. If someone starts making reckless decisions or making impulsive choices, this could be a sign that something is wrong. This can include everything from suddenly quitting a job, to abandoning friendships or relationships, to making extreme purchases.
5. Looking for a Way Out
If a person begins to talk about being a burden to others, or if they start acquiring things they’d need to end their life (such as weapons, drugs, etc.), this is a huge sign that something is wrong. If a person starts talking about finding a “way out” or an “escape”, it’s important to take this seriously and intervene.
6. Sudden Mood Swings
Rapid changes in a person’s mood can be a sign of distress. If someone suddenly switches from being in an upbeat mood to appearing despondent and hopeless, this is not a good sign. It’s also important to take note of any extreme spikes in mood. For example, if a person goes from feeling down one day to seeming overly happy the next, this could be a sign that they’re trying to escape from their own reality.
7. Giving Away Possessions
If someone you know starts giving away items that have sentimental value, this is a sign that they may be thinking of ending their life. This could include items such as favorite books, jewelry, or clothing. If someone starts to do this without offering an explanation, it’s important to take note and take action.
8. Withdrawal from Friends and Family
One of the most common warning signs of suicide is when someone begins to isolate themselves from their friends and family. This could include withdrawing from social activities and refusing to hang out with friends, or it could be something as simple as refusing to answer texts or phone calls. If you notice this kind of behavior in a loved one, it’s important to take action and reach out to them.
9. Loss of Interest in Activities
If someone you know suddenly loses interest in the activities they once enjoyed doing, this is a sign that something is wrong. This can include things like no longer wanting to go to the gym, or no longer being interested in a hobby they used to be passionate about. If you notice this kind of behavior, it’s important to take action and offer support.
10. Writing About Death
If someone you know starts writing about death or expressing a desire to die in some way, this is a sign to take seriously. This can range from writing sad poems or letters, to creating a goodbye video or post on social media. If you notice any of these behaviors, it’s important to intervene and offer help.
Unfortunately, suicide affects thousands of people every year and it can be devastating for those left behind. If you have a friend or family member who is showing any of these signs, reach out and offer them help. You can contact a mental health professional, go to the emergency room, or call a crisis hotline like 988. Every life is valuable and it’s important to take any signs of distress seriously.