When someone is suffering from depression to the point that they feel worthless and want to die, friends and family may feel helpless as to how they can help. But friends and family may be able to help by identifying some of the risk factors and warning signs of suicide and by finding professionals that can further help their loved one heal their mental illness.
This year, the National Institute of Mental Health reported that suicide ranks third in the leading causes of adolescent fatalities. For the families of those adolescents, it is too late for prevention. Right now many families may not believe that they have a loved one who is considering suicide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2012 that 2.4 percent of adolescents had attempted suicide.
But there are ways that family and friends can help. There are warning signs to watch for and there are professionals who can help.
Overall, men, white Americans, and American Indians tend to share the highest rates of suicide. There are warning signs that may indicate a risk of suicide in a person.
Signs Of Suicidal Risk
- Talking about suicide and death
- Saying their life is hopeless
- Withdrawing from close friends and family
- Major mood swings
- Acting reckless
- Looking for objects which they can kill themselves with
Between 50 percent and 75 percent of those who are suicidal talk about it. They might often talk or write about dying or death, in general. They may even tell someone of detailed plans about how they intend to end their life. They often feel helpless and that there is no way out of their mental health misery except for death.
This talk should not be ignored. If a person has gone through much planning, they have taken these thoughts seriously.
Helping Those Who Are Suicidal
One of the first ways to help is to carefully listen to the person. Arguing with them will only make them feel more shut out. Letting the suicidal person know that they are loved and letting them know that someone cares about them is very important. Sometimes this is not enough and the person should also be encouraged to see a professional to talk about their thoughts and emotions. Once again, advising someone to seek professional help should be mentioned out of care for that person, letting that person know that they are so important that someone wants them to feel better and find help, too.
It is important to keep listening to, encouraging, showing care for, and helping a person who shows suicidal signs. It’s important not to let go. It may take making appointments for them and going with them to see a mental health specialist so that they follow through with seeking help.
Families should not feel they are alone in figuring out how to save their loved one from suicide. Mental health specialists are partners in helping families bring their loved one back to positive mental health.