Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the United States among people aged 15 to 34 years. With the holidays approaching, it is good to look out for those who may be newly on their own this year or struggling with a recent move, a recent medical diagnosis, or a long season of difficulty. Any of us can hit rock bottom and need a hand to help us back on our feet.
Here are some facts from the CDC to consider:
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for more than 48,000 deaths in 2018.
- In 2018, 10.7 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.3 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide.
- People who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence are at higher risk for suicide.
Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. You can learn the warning signs and how to get help.
There are many contributing factors and reasons that someone can choose to take their own life. Let’s look at some of the warning signs that someone could be contemplating suicide.
People generally believe that suicide rates go up around the holidays. Maybe because of the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” or because some people do suffer from seasonal affective disorder during the long dreary winter months. However, suicide does not increase during the holiday season.
Anyone can choose to take their life at any time though, so it still makes sense to keep an eye on your loved ones’ behavior this holiday season so that you can intervene if needed.
According to the Journal of The American Medical Association study, the biggest indicators that someone may take their life are a history of suicide attempts, a mood disorder, or a substance use disorder. A family history of suicidal behavior can also increase risk. Having a family member commit suicide can normalize the behavior and make it more of a possibility in someone’s mind. Experiencing the trauma of this happening in your family can also contribute to the mental state causing suicidal ideation.
Other risk factors for considering suicide mentioned in the study include::
- Impulsive aggression
This person may have impulse control with blurred lines of how to act out difficult emotions without letting anger take control.
Can cause hopelessness and exhaustion to the point where a person can lose their excitement for life and feel incapable of going on with the struggle.
When someone loses their vision for the future and their desire to live out their life mission, they may only see pain and pointlessness.
- Anxiety and Agitation
Someone experiencing these feelings is on edge and is not coping well with the stressors in their life, whether emotional or physical. A professional evaluation could help them find calm again.
- Childhood adversity
Experiencing constant adversity as a child can cause a post traumatic stress disorder or any number of struggles related to adapting to life as an adult. This person did not get to develop in a normal way and may need help to adjust.
- Negative life experiences
Sometimes a person only experiences bad for so long that it is hard to find the good anymore. They can be hopeless that life could ever feel ok.
These are the places that can bring us to the edge of wanting to stop the world and get off of this thing called “life”. Everyone on this earth has times where they feel devastated or exhausted, hopeless or alone. Feelings can sometimes be tricky for us to handle, especially when we feel like no one cares.
Signs to Watch For:
Watch for these Behavioral Signs from The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that someone is at the end of their rope:
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
These behaviors can be a clue but it is always best to talk with a professional who can help you make sense of what is happening. It can be difficult to know what the next step is when a loved one exhibits these behaviors.
Because saving a life is so important, it is always better to reach out for help if you are unsure.
Call a Hotline
If you have a friend who is struggling and you are unsure about what to do, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). “This hotline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.”
You can help prevent suicide. If you don’t want to call a hotline, you could talk with a counselor or a psychiatric hospital. Or ask a friend or advisor to call the hotline for you. Anyone who has the struggles listed above and is contemplating suicide needs help.
Keep your eyes open and don’t be afraid to take action if needed. Your loved one’s life may depend upon you taking their threats seriously. You never know when your awareness can help your loved one get the help they need to keep living.
At Renaissance, we want to help you find answers about death AND about how to live your life fully before you are gone. No one wants to see a life prematurely snuffed out because of one bad decision. We all need help sometimes. If you have an issue we can help you with, don’t hesitate to call. Our trained grief and funeral counselors are here for you in times of grieving, fear and concern about death, or if you are ready to make a plan for end of life arrangements.