By knowing the warning signs, you can help prevent a suicide.
Suicide has been on the rise in recent years and is now a leading cause of death in the United States. More troubling, suicide is currently the 2nd leading cause of death for teens and young adults, and an estimated one million suicide attempts are made each year in our country.
In the recent past, suicide – like cancer – was not talked about. However, we now know that conversation leads to better awareness, dispelling the myths around suicide and greatly increasing the chances of preventing suicide.
Warning Signs of SuicideWe now know that most people who end their lives exhibit warning signs through their behavior or what they say. Most will show at least one or two of the following signs, but could exhibit more. Talking or writing about:
- Wanting to die
- Killing themselves
- Feeling hopeless or trapped
- Having no reason to live
- Being in unbearable pain
- Fearing they are a burden to others
- Searching for a way to end their life, such as stocking pills, looking to buy a gun, etc.
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Giving away prized possessions
- Visiting or posting goodbyes
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Isolating from friends and family
- Withdrawing from activities
- Acting recklessly or aggressively
Although anyone could contemplate or attempt suicide, certain factors put some people at higher risk. Mental health conditions top the list with an estimated 90% of suicide victims having a potentially treatable mental health condition (although all may not have been diagnosed or treated) including:
- Depression – it is estimated 2 out of 3 victims of suicide had depression
- Anxiety Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Substance Use Disorder
Other risk factors include:
- Serious or chronic health condition and/or pain
- Previous suicide attempt
- Family history of suicide
- Family history of mental illness
- Childhood abuse
- Stressful life events, such as a death, divorce or job loss
- Prolonged exposure to stress factors such as harassment, bullying, relationship difficulties and unemployment
It’s important to remember that these factors do not cause suicide, only heighten the risk.
Talking to Someone About SuicideSuspecting or learning a friend or loved one is contemplating suicide can be overwhelming and frightening. However, talking to them is the first step in preventing suicide. Some talking tips include:
- Don’t wait for them to bring up the topic
- Ask direct questions in a sensitive way
- Show genuine concern
- Don’t be judgmental
- Never act shocked by what they might express to you
Suicidal Posts on Social MediaWith social media an increasing part of our everyday lives, you may occasionally see posts online from someone expressing suicidal thoughts – even someone you don’t know. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has compiled a contact list of Safety Teams at TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and other platforms* to help you anonymously report users. Other social media sites not featured on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website may offer similar reporting features. The best way to find those features is to use the social media site’s search function and search for the terms “suicide” or “self-harm.”
How Pine Rest Can Help
Our psychiatric hospital provides a safe environment for persons at risk or who have attempted or are threatening suicide. Our highly trained and compassionate staff includes psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, social workers, chaplains and more. Crisis stabilization is the goal for those entering the program, followed by the development of an individualized after-care plan.
Once the crisis has passed, we offer continuing support to help address the issues that led to suicidal thoughts or attempts. These include short-term intensive daily treatment on our campus as well as services through our Transition Clinic, psychiatry and medication management, outpatient counseling, individual therapy and group therapy.
If You Have Lost Someone to Suicide. Grieving the loss of someone who has lost their life to suicide is a difficult and complicated process fraught with feelings of sadness, guilt, anger and frustration. We provide professional grief counseling to help you work through your grief and loss and can also connect you to a support group where survivors benefit from sharing their experiences with others.
Pine Rest Services
- Psychiatric Urgent Care. For urgent needs, our Psychiatric Urgent Care Center is open daily to adults for same-day assessments. Appointments are also available through telehealth. Call 616.455.9200.
- Inpatient/Hospitalization. For immediate help, call our Contact Center at 800.678.5500.
- Counseling/Outpatient Services. To schedule a new outpatient appointment, call 866.852.4001.