Suicidal Thoughts



Why Someone has Suicidal Thoughts

     Most people start having suicidal thoughts when they are desperate to escape suffering that has become unbearable. The individual who chooses suicide as their only option feels self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation. The unfortunate truth is that they can’t see any other way out of their situation other than to take their own life; however, it’s not something they want to do if they have another choice.  If someone can show them another way out that they feel can work, they might be willing to listen.  Therefore, if you discover someone is on the verge of committing suicide, please reach out to them to offer them hope because they have none left.

2nd Leading Cause of Death in 2020

     The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. In the United States in 2020, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in all categories. For the age group 10-34, it was the second leading cause of death. Virginia’s suicide rate was 13.97% for the same period.

How to Help Someone who is Suicidal
Encourage Them to Get Professional Help.
  • Do everything in your power to help them move toward accepting the help they need. Often, depressed people do not have the energy to act themselves; therefore, you may need to offer to be their hands and feet.
  • Call a Suicide Prevention Lifeline for advice and referrals before talking to them, and then have that number available when you are present. Make the call to Lifeline with their permission and hand them the phone.
  • After the call, please encourage them to follow up and see a mental health professional, help them locate a treatment facility, and offer to take them to the appointment.
Treatment Follow-Up.
  • If the doctor prescribes medication, make sure they take it as directed.
  • Be aware of possible side effects.
  • Remind them of coping skills learned in therapy
Be proactive.
  • Those contemplating suicide may believe they can be helped, feel too ashamed to ask for it, or not have the energy to pick up the phone.
  • Rather than leaving the ball in their court to call you if they need help, drop by or call to check on them or invite them out.
Encourage positive lifestyle changes.
  • Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and get out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes each day.
  • Exercise is especially helpful because it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes well-being.
Make a safety plan.
  • Develop a set of steps they promise to follow during a suicidal crisis.
  • List any triggers that may lead to a suicidal crisis, such as the anniversary of a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships.
  • Include contact numbers for your family member’s doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help in an emergency.
Remove potential means of suicide.
  • Remove potential weapons such as pills, knives, razors, or firearms. If your family member is likely to take an overdose of a medication, they take it regularly, lock the medicine in a vault, and dispense a dose only when it’s time for one.
Continue your support over the long haul.
  • Even after the immediate suicidal crisis has passed, stay in touch, periodically checking in or dropping by. Your support is vital in helping your family member remain on track in their recovery.
Warning Signs That Someone Has Suicidal Thoughts

     It’s important to know the warning signs that indicate someone may be having suicidal thoughts when dealing with depression. No one wants to believe someone they care about wants to kill themselves, but if there is a chance that may be the case, you need to reach out to them.  Take any talk of suicide seriously. Warning signs are not a way to get attention; they’re a cry for help. If you see the following in someone you know, take action to help.

  • Talking about suicide, dying, or harming oneself
  • A preoccupation with death
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness, having no reason to live, or self-hate
  • Acting anxious or agitated or in dangerous or self-destructive ways
  • Getting affairs in order and saying goodbye
  • Giving things away that are important to them
  • Seeking out pills, weapons, or any object capable of causing death.
  • A sudden sense of calm after depression
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

     Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask a depressed person if they think about committing suicide.  Questions about suicidal intentions do not cause a person to decide to kill themselves.  The decision to end their life stems from internal pain

List of Resources Used for Suicide Content:

Helping Someone with Depression

Suicide Prevention


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