Warning signs of suicide and prevention

Warning signs of suicide and prevention

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Suicide is the deliberate self-infliction of harm with the intention of dying. When someone damages oneself with the intention of ending their life but does not pass away as a result of their acts, it is considered a suicide attempt. Numerous factors both enhance and decrease the chance of suicide. There is a link between suicide or ending life and other types of harm and violence. People who have experienced violence, such as bullying, child abuse, or sexual violence, for instance, are more likely to commit suicide. Being close to family and other sources of support, as well as having easy access to medical care, can help prevent suicidal thoughts and actions.

Suicide can have a variety of causes. When pressures and health problems combine to produce a sense of helplessness and despair, suicide is most frequently the result. Depression, which is commonly misdiagnosed or improperly managed, is the mental health condition most frequently associated with suicide. Suicide risk is increased by disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, especially when they go untreated. However, it's crucial to remember that the majority of people who actively maintain their mental health disorders continue to lead busy lives.

Suicidal thoughts are most usually triggered by a situation in life that seems too hard to handle. If you don't have optimism or confidence for the future, you can wrongly believe that suicide is an effective remedy. In a crisis, you could have a form of tunnel vision where you believe that the only option is suicide. Suicide could also have a hereditary component. A family history of suicide increases the likelihood that a person would commit suicide, act suicidally, or have suicidal thoughts or behavior.

Circumstances that increase the risk of suicide

Individual Risk Factors

These personal factors contribute to risk:

  • Previous suicide attempt.
  • Serious illnesses such as chronic pain.
  • History of depression and other mental illnesses.
  • Job/financial problems or loss.
  • Criminal/legal problems.
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies.
  • Substance use.
  • Violence victimization and/or perpetration.
  • Sense of hopelessness.
  • Current or prior history of harmful childhood experiences.

Relationship Risk Factors

These hurtful experiences within relationships might contribute to risk:

  • Family/loved one’s history of suicide.
  • Bullying.
  • High-conflict or violent relationships.
  • Loss of relationships.
  • Social isolation.

Societal Risk Factors

These environmental and cultural factors within the society might contribute to risk:

  • The shame associated with seeking help for mental illness.
  • Unsafe media portrayals of suicide.
  • Easy access to dangerous or harmful means of suicide among people at risk.

Community Risk Factors

These issues within a community contribute to risk:

  • Lack of access to healthcare.
  • Stress of acculturation.
  • Suicide cluster in the community.
  • Historical trauma.
  • Community violence.
  • Discrimination.

Immediate Warning Signs of Suicide

Some of the more prevalent red flags that someone may be considering suicide include:

Being depressed or irritable: The person has constant dejection and irritability. A notable risk factor for suicide is depression. After experiencing a period of despair or irritability, the person experiences abrupt tranquility.

Withdrawing from others: The individual chooses to spend time alone and steer clear of friends and social gatherings. Additionally, individuals stop finding enjoyment or interest in activities they formerly loved.

The person's attitude or behavior changes, such as speaking or moving at an unusually fast or slow pace. Changes in personality, appearance, or sleep patterns. Additionally, people suddenly stop caring as much about how they look. They sleep significantly more or significantly less than is customary for that person.

Exhibiting risky or self-destructive behavior: The person engages in potentially risky activities including driving carelessly, engaging in risky sexual activity, or upping their drug and/or alcohol intake.

Recent trauma or a crisis in life: Examples of crises include losing a loved one or a pet, being divorced or ending a relationship, being diagnosed with a serious disease, losing your job, or facing significant financial difficulties.

When someone is in a deep state of despair, they may express feelings of helplessness, a lack of purpose for living, burdensomeness, being trapped, or excruciating emotional agony.

Making preparations: The person starts to organize their personal affairs. This could involve calling on friends and family, donating items, creating a will, and cleaning up their homes. The person frequently looks for ways to kill themselves or places to get guns online. Before making a suicide attempt, people might pen a letter.

Expressing suicidal intent or making suicide threats: Not everyone who is contemplating suicide will admit to it, and not everyone who makes a suicide threat will actually do it but always take any suicide threats seriously.

Suicide Prevention

Suicides can be prevented and everyone has a role to play to save lives and create a healthy space for strong individuals, families, and communities. Numerous elements can lower the chance of suicide. A variety of elements at the individual, family, relationship, community, and societal levels can prevent suicide, much like risk factors. Suicide can be avoided by all people. Communities and society can take action to help people and help keep them safe from suicidal thoughts and deeds.

If your friend or loved one is talking about suicide and exhibiting risk factors for self-harm but is not in immediate danger, take them seriously. If you can, get rid of everything that might be utilized in a suicide attempt. Encourage them to phone a support line, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-(TALK), on their own or in a group (1-800-273-8255). The consultations are free, confidential, and available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week with a qualified, professional counselor. Don't leave a friend or loved one alone if they seem to be in grave discomfort. Keep the person as quiet as you can and seek quick assistance. Take the person to an emergency department or dial 112.

Preventive measures you can take, are;

Strengthen economic support-

  • Stabilize housing.
  • Strengthen household financial security.

Create a protective environment-

  • Reduce access to fatal means among persons at risk of suicide.
  • Create healthy organizational policies and culture.
  • Reduce substance abuse through community-based practices.

Improve access and delivery of suicide care-

  • Cover mental health problems and conditions in health insurance policies.
  • Provide rapid and remote access to help.
  • Increase provider availability in underserved areas.
  • Create safer suicide care through systems change.

Promote healthy connections-

  • Engage community members in shared activities.
  • Promote healthy peer norms.

Teach coping and problem-solving skills-

  • Support social-emotional learning programs.
  • Support resilience through education programs.
  • Teach parenting skills to improve family relationships.

Identify and support people at risk-

  • Respond to cries.
  • Provide therapeutic approaches.
  • Plan for safety and follow-up after an attempt

Don't be afraid or scared to inquire about anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts if someone you know is showing suicidal warning signals. Pay attention without passing judgment. Sometimes all your friend or family member needs to hear from you is that they care and are open to sharing their feelings. Encourage them to look for expert assistance. Every suicide is tragic and, to some extent, puzzling. Suicide most often results from a profound sense of hopelessness. The majority of people who survive suicide attempts go on to live full, fulfilling lives. However, some people who are unable to see solutions to issues or cope with difficult life situations may view taking their own lives as the only option. In addition to psychiatric problems, substance abuse, chronic pain, a family history of suicide, and previous suicide attempts, depression is a major risk factor for suicide. Impulsivity is frequently a factor in adolescent suicide.

If you are feeling suicidal, don't think you are alone. Be aware that assistance is available every day as well. Call your doctor, go to the emergency room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or 915-2987821. This is the icallhelpline.org helpline number. The School of Human Ecology at TISS - Mumbai launched the innovative and powerful mental health project iCALL- Initiating Concern for All in 2012. ACL strives to offer qualified and cost-free counseling to anybody in need of emotional support using technology-assisted channels such the phone, email, and chat, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, or race, and transcending geographical distances while maintaining confidentiality.

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