Suicide: The Signs, Causes, & Prevention Resources
Life can be overwhelming for many. For some, their circumstances, struggles, or perhaps the state of their mental health can create extra stress, pain, and unbearable burdens. At times the weight of their circumstances becomes too heavy to bear, and they may begin to wish it all away.
Most suicides or attempts are related to mental health issues such as depression, personality disorders, trauma, substance abuse, and hopelessness. Hopelessness can be brought about by chronic pain, illness, debt, or a sudden change in circumstances.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide was responsible for the death of 45,979 Americans in 2020, and 1.2 million people attempted suicide. These troubling statistics prove that we all need to know the signs of suicide. What could cause someone to want to end their life? We’ll discuss that in this blog post.
Disclaimer: We are not licensed therapists and this blog post is not meant to be a substitute for professional help.
What is suicide?
Suicide is when someone ends their own life. Most people survive suicide attempts. However, the impact, shame, or stigma associated with suicide, is something most will never forget. Suicide attempts are not uncommon and leave a lasting effect on families and loved ones.
Possible Causes Of Depression & Suicide Attempts
Suicidal ideations can be felt by anyone at any age, regardless of ethnicity or gender. The essence of being suicidal is the increasing feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness. It is an emotional wound that carries a burden that seems too heavy to carry.
Some of the most common reasons why someone may decide to take their life may be:
- Mental Health Issues: Mental health issues affect every aspect of a person’s life. Issues like depression, anxiety, mood disorders, or schizophrenia are a few mental health issues that can cause someone to feel suicidal.
- Bullying: Bullying is when someone intends to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable). Those reasons can sometimes include your race, ethnicity, height, weight, or any other distinctive characteristic or experience. Any kind of threat can fall under this category as well. There have been cases of kids who have committed suicide due to being threatened online over explicit images and things of that nature.
- Abuse: Whether it be physical abuse, mental abuse, or emotional abuse, these can have a strong effect on someone and may cause them to want to harm themselves as they may feel there is no way out of their situation.
- Economic/Financial troubles: Someone may be concerned about their lack of income. Perhaps they may be facing homelessness or be afraid of losing the life they obtained. This can cause suicidal feelings in someone.
- Loss of a loved one or relationship: Losing someone you love can be extremely difficult. Learning to continue your life without someone you held near and dear is extremely painful and can often leave someone depressed and hopeless. It is not uncommon for people to commit suicide over grief.
- Loneliness: Being isolated can leave someone feeling lonely and as though no one is around to care about them. They may feel alone and lack community and support.
- Feelings of inadequacy: Feeling as though you are not good enough or worthy of the life you have is certainly not uncommon for someone who is considering ending their life.
- Addiction: Substance abuse can have chemical effects on the body. Fighting addiction is a difficult and lengthy process that can leave someone feeling drained or discouraged. They may feel unable to beat the addiction and thus feel suicidal.
- Trauma: People can experience trauma from almost anything that changes the course of their lives. For some, it is sexual abuse, physical abuse, an accident, experiencing an event that leaves an emotional imprint on your existence, or any kind of incident that affects someone’s peace or the course of their lives. Veterans and people in Law Enforcement are at higher risk of suicide due to the trauma they experience on the job.
- Postpartum Depression/hormonal changes: An imbalance in the body can cause feelings of hopelessness and affect someone enough to consider suicide.
- Medications: Certain medications can cause someone to have suicidal thoughts, especially if it is the wrong medication for that person. While antidepressants are meant to help with depression, it often takes a few trials with different medications to find the right ones. It is extremely important to check in with your doctor regularly if your medication makes you suicidal or depressed.
Indications Someone May Be Considering Suicide
Anyone can experience suicidal thoughts, but signs often indicate someone may be considering acting on their thoughts. Below you will find a few examples of signs to look for:
- The person may verbally express their desire to die or to go away.
- The person may express feelings of hopelessness or feeling that there is no way out.
- The person may be discussing or making statements such as “Life would be better without me around” or say things such as “No one would miss me if I were gone”.
- They may withdraw from family, friends, or activities.
- If someone is saying “goodbye” to loved ones or giving away their possessions, this may signify that they are contemplating suicide.
Please note that this list is not exclusive. *** If you suspect someone is suicidal, please seek help immediately.
Other less obvious signs may include:
- Unusual changes in behavior, sleep
- Perhaps that person purchased a gun
- The person may withdraw emotionally from their support system
- Chronic pain or illness can make someone want to end their life
What to do if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. Many people struggle with suicidal thoughts, and some even attempt to commit suicide almost daily. There are many resources help you overcome your feelings of grief, pain, and sadness. There are several support methods, including support from your medical provider or a psychiatrist, suicide prevention centers you can call anytime, therapy, support groups, medication, and crisis prevention services.
- Step 1- SEEK HELP! You are not alone. There are so many resources available to help you. Tell someone immediately that you are experiencing these thoughts. (See below for a list of resources)
- Step 2- Avoid using substances to help you numb the pain that is not medically prescribed.
- Step 3- Remove anything from your home that you could use to harm yourself.
- Step 4- Commit to seeking help. Depression is similar to many other ailments in that it takes time to heal and begin to feel better. Better days will come if you seek help, and commit to working in a program with your medical provider or psychiatrist. Have a designated person you can call when you have these thoughts or call the suicide prevention hotline.
Suicide Prevention Resources:
Many organizations, support groups, and medical professionals are on call and available at all hours to help you during a crisis. Remember you are NOT alone. Depression and feelings of hopelessness plague many people. Please visit The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention for a thorough list of resources. *** If you suspect someone is suicidal, call the Suicide Help HOTLINE: Dial 988 or visit the NIH (National Institute of Mental Health) online: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention
Special Note from Spaulding Decon
Our business specializes in cleaning up biohazards and suicide cleaning is within that scope of work. It is heartbreaking for us when we must clean up homes where someone has taken their life. It is devastating to watch the pain families are experiencing and even harder to accept that there is little we can do to comfort them or make their pain disappear. We have yet to experience a suicide that has not left the family completely emotionally depleted. If you are considering suicide, please remember you are LOVED and that there are many resources within your reach to help you overcome your grief.
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