Common Signs Of Someone Who May Be Suicidal

Suicide is a serious and complex issue that affects many people. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 800,000 people die by suicide every year. In Australia, suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged between 15 and 44 years old, with around 3,000 deaths by suicide each year. It’s important to recognise the signs of someone who may be suicidal, so that you can help them get the support and care they need.

What is suicide?

Suicide is the act of intentionally taking one’s own life. It’s a complex and multifaceted issue that can be influenced by a range of factors, including mental illness, trauma, stress, and social isolation.

What are the common signs of someone who may be suicidal?

It can be difficult to recognise when someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings. However, there are some common signs that may indicate someone is at risk of suicide:

1. Talking about suicide

If someone is talking about suicide, such as making comments like “I wish I wasn’t alive” or “I’m going to kill myself”, it’s important to take these statements seriously. These comments may indicate that someone is considering suicide and needs help.

2. Changes in behaviour

If someone is experiencing changes in their behaviour, such as becoming withdrawn, irritable, or agitated, it’s important to pay attention. Other signs may include changes in sleep patterns, appetite, or energy levels.

3. Loss of interest

If someone has lost interest in things they used to enjoy, such as hobbies or socialising, this may be a sign that they are struggling with their mental health.

4. Giving away possessions

If someone is giving away their possessions or making arrangements as if they won’t be around, this may be a sign that they are preparing to take their own life.

5. Increased substance use

If someone is using drugs or alcohol more than usual, this may be a sign that they are struggling with their mental health and using substances to cope.

What can you do if you think someone may be suicidal?

If you think someone may be suicidal, there are a number of things you can do to help:

1. Talk to them

Starting a conversation about suicide can be difficult, but it’s important to be direct and ask them how they are feeling. Let them know that you are there to listen and support them.

2. Encourage them to seek help

Encourage them to seek help from a professional, such as a doctor, psychologist, or counsellor. Offer to help them find a service or make an appointment.

3. Offer practical support

Offer practical support, such as helping them with daily tasks or connecting them with community services.

4. Keep them safe

If someone is immediate danger, such as threatening to take their life, it’s important to take action to keep them safe. This may involve calling emergency services or taking them to the hospital.

Where can I get help?

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings, it’s important to seek help. There are a range of support services available, including:

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue provides information and support for people experiencing mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. They also offer a 24/7 helpline for crisis support.

Lifeline

Lifeline is a national charity providing 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services. They offer a range of services, including a 24/7 helpline, online chat, and resources for people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings.

Headspace

Headspace provides support for young people aged 12-25 who are experiencing mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. They offer a range of services, including counselling, information and resources, and online and phone support.

Conclusion

Suicide is a serious and complex issue that affects many people. It’s important to recognise the signs of someone who may be suicidal, so that you can help them get the support and care they need. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings, it’s important to seek help from a professional. Remember, it’s ok to ask for help.

FAQs

What are some common signs of someone who may be suicidal?

Some common signs of someone who may be suicidal include talking about suicide, giving away prized possessions, sudden mood changes, and reckless behaviour.

What can I do to help someone who shows suicidal signs?

If someone you know displays suicidal signs, it is important to take their concerns seriously and seek professional help immediately. You can also support them by being patient, listening to them without judgement, and letting them know that they are not alone.

Why is it important to recognise suicidal signs?

Recognising suicidal signs can help prevent suicides and save lives. Early intervention and treatment can help reduce the risk of suicide and improve the quality of life for those affected by suicide. It is important to take suicidal signs seriously and seek help as soon as possible.


References

1. Joiner, T. E., Reynolds, S. K., & Bodell, L. P. (2010). Coping with the desire to die: Evidence-based strategies for preventing suicide in older adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 38(6), S226-S234.

2. Cassidy, M., Jahn, D. R., & Blosnich, J. R. (2018). Risk factors for suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among active-duty and reserve component United States military personnel. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 30(5), 466-475.

3. O’Connor, R. C., Rasmussen, S., & Hawton, K. (2017). Distinguishing suicide attempts from suicidal ideation: Patterns, predictors, and policy implications. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 47(1), 17-29.