10 signs someone might be suicidal and how you can help

It is difficult to know what to do when you suspect that someone might be suicidal.

Those who are suicidal are unlikely to admit that they need help. For this reason, it is important that their friends and family know when they need to interfere. Being observant and being able to tell when something is not right could save your loved one’s life. There are several warnings signs that you should look for if you suspect that someone in your life might be suicidal:

  1. Withdrawing from social contact and isolating themselves
  2. Constant expression of hopelessness
  3. Excessive sadness and feelings of depression
  4. Substance abuse
  5. Self-destructive and reckless behavior 
  6. Disregarding personal hygiene and appearance
  7. Giving away personal, sentimental, or expensive possessions
  8. Excessive calmness after a long period of depression
  9. Getting the means to commit suicide (stockpiling pills, buying a weapon, etc.)
  10. Saying goodbye as if they will never see someone again

What can you do?

Many people believe that they cannot do anything to help someone who is suicidal – this is a myth. While there is no guarantee that suicide can be prevented, its risk can definitely be reduced if there is timely intervention. If you have concerns and suspect that someone in your life is suicidal, sit down and speak to them. ASK them how they are feeling, how they are managing with the stress in their life and what you can do to help. If they admit to having contemplated committing suicide, encourage them to seek help by speaking to a professional. 

What if they are in immediate danger?

If you suspect that someone might act on their suicidal thoughts, you should:

  • Call 911
  • Make sure the person is not alone
  • Take away anything which they may use to harm themselves: pills, razors, guns, knives
  • Get in contact with their therapist or counselor so they can advise you what to do

Ultimately you should be kind to yourself too and remember that you are not responsible for preventing someone from taking their life; nevertheless, your intervention could show them that there are other options and that suicide is not the only way out.

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