Understanding Suicide Prevention (part 1)

According to statistics, 42 thousand people annually die from it. Suicide rates have increased by 24% over 15 years across all age groups. Females aged 10-14 have shown the greatest increase (200%). Indeed, such rates mean that we need to take prevention measures, educate people about recognizing suicidal behavior, and enhance support resources for individuals at risk.

Myths and Facts about Suicide

People have a number of misconceptions about suicide. However, it is always crucial to learn the facts as they can save someone’s life.

  1. Myth: Talks about suicide do not lead to committing suicide.

Fact: Almost everyone who committed suicide had talked about it. Unfortunately, most people do not take them seriously. Therefore, be cautious.

  1. Myth: Suicide is only a way to get attention.

Fact: Even if it is so, suicidal people do need attention and support. So, stop looking for reasons of their behavior and just help.

  1. Myth: Talks about suicide can evoke suicidal ideas.

Fact: If you remain silent, you will not prevent the suicide attempt. But if you discuss it openly, you can make them change their mind.

  1. Myth: If someone was suicidal and seems to feel better now, they are not at risk anymore.

Fact: Depressive and suicidal people may show the signs of “feeling better” due to the fact that they are determined to commit suicide and think it is a “right decision.”

  1. Myth: If one wants to commit suicide, nothing can alter their decision.

Fact: In reality, there is always a way to dissuade the person from doing this.

Risk Factors

Risk factors are different from warning signs. They indicate that the individual is at high risk of committing suicide and do not involve the immediate threats. For example, those who have had suicide attempts in the past are considered to be 38 times more likely to die from suicide than those who have not. People with alcohol abuse history are 6 times more likely to commit suicide. Other possible risk factors include:

  • Family history of suicide, substance abuse, and/or mental issues
  • Psychiatric and/or mood disorder
  • Recent traumatic event
  • Presence of a chronic condition or terminal illness
  • Social isolation and alienation
  • Conflict over personal relationships
  • Access to substances and weapons that can be used to end one’s life

Warning Signs

It is extremely important to identify the warning signs in time. Take all of them seriously as they signify the immediate risk of committing suicide.

  • Mood swings and personality changes
  • Alienation from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Giving away personal belongings
  • Substance and alcohol abuse
  • Engagement in risky behaviors
  • Sharing feelings of hopelessness and saying they have “no reason to live”
  • Frequent talks about death and suicide
  • Revealing the plans of committing suicide
  • Getting a weapon or substance to commit suicide

Remember that it is better to overstate these signs. After all, your attention can save someone’s life.